Children's Books

Children's literature to spark imagination

In any library or bookstore, nothing stands out quite as much as the children's book section. That's because children's books capture what it means to be carefree and childlike -- from the happy pictures to the imaginative wording, reading a children's book can be a fantastic experience for everyone involved. On the other hand, reading can be an incredibly challenging activity, and a poor experience can really affect how your child feels about language and learning. Here are a few things to consider when you're teaching your child to read and why some books might make better choices than others.


Learning to Read

The most important tool for learning to read is an appropriate book. That may sound obvious, but children's books range hugely in vocabulary, concept and structure; the kids' books you choose for a six year old and those that you'd pick for a nine year old will probably be quite different, as those mere three years mark a very big gap in reading comprehension. If you introduce your child to reading with a book that is too far outside their grasp or ability, they can become discouraged and may even develop distaste for reading altogether.

Short and easy children's picture books are the best to start with, and if you're encouraging independent reading in home schooling or simply during their spare time, your child should be able to read most of the words without your help. You can find out how the book fits this requirement by opening it in the middle, and starting at the top of the page, have your child read through. If they get stuck on more than five words, start with an easier book and after they finish it, pick a harder book to read to them as they follow the words on the page. As with any other activity, reading proficiency comes faster with practice, so take some time every day to read with and to your child.

What to Look for in Children's Literature

Good children's literature is able to encourage imagination, develop vocabulary and entertain. In fact, some of the best examples are the books that both you and your child find engaging -- that's a mark of a story that appeals to a deeper, universal aspect of imagination and human nature. Children's audio books are a great way to introduce a more intricate type of story and spark creative thinking, or else you can focus on long yet easy-to-follow picture books or even comic books, which weave words and pictures in a dynamic way.

While excellent new books hit the shelves every day, some classics have carved out reputations as imaginative and educational gems. Reading Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Wind in the Willows and the works of Beatrix Potter with your child is a fantastic storytelling experience and imagination exercise, and the realistic drawings of most editions will captivate both of you. When it comes to new stories, take advantage of online reviews and check out your local library for guest readings, installments and new additions to their shelves. A librarian can be your best source for notable new authors or for where to go next when progressing through reading levels.

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