How to Choose a Book

Tips for Choosing Books for Young Kids

Here are general tips on choosing appropriate reading material that will keep young readers engaged and enthusiastic about reading. Share these ideas with friends and family members who buy books for your child.

  • Younger children enjoy books that use word repetition, rhymes, and predictable text. Look for books with colorful pictures and simple words.

  • For beginning readers, select books that match their skill level.

  • At the library, let your child choose some of the books.

  • If your child has a favorite book, he or she may enjoy other books written by the same author.

  • Choose stories that provide new experiences, such as folktales or books about different countries and cultures.

  • Choose books that match your child’s interests, from dinosaurs to dancing. (Most children like books that are funny.)

  • For children who are already reading, select a variety of books – books you can read together, books you can read to your child, and books your child can read to you.

  • Encourage your child to try different kinds of books, such as mysteries, biographies, and other non-fiction.

  • Ask the children’s librarian for book suggestions or booklists.

  • Books about events in your child’s life (examples: new siblings, moving, first day of school) can help him or her cope with fears and feelings.

Tips for Choosing Books for Older Kids

Family of Readers Advisor’s Guide

  • Have children choose their own books as soon as they start showing a preference for one over another.

  • Find the children’s section of your local library. Get to know the librarian, who can be a great resource.

  • Find out what your child is interested in, and help choose books that are related to his or her interests.

  • Ask friends, family, and teachers what books their children have enjoyed; try a book swap.

  • If your child does not like a book you are reading together, put it away. Reading is a fun time to share, not a time to fight.

  • Again, Again, Again! Children may want to read the same book many times, even if you think they have outgrown it.

  • Use book lists generated by various literacy organizations; they usually have good suggestions. For example: American Library Association, International Reading Association, Children’s Book Guild.

  • Look for books that you will like reading aloud. Your enjoyment will shine through and become contagious.

  • Try out different kinds of books to see what appeals to your children.

  • Have fun! Show your children the joy of reading and how it can open up a brand new world!

Source: Family of Readers Advisor’s Guide
Ages: 5-8, 9-12, 13+