bedtime reading
Establishing a bedtime reading routine with your child
July 15, 2017
choosing books

Choosing books for any child, at any age, can be tough. There are lots of things to consider; what is the book’s content, how long is the book, what is the vocabulary level required to understand the story, etc. And in a world where children seem to grow and mature faster than ever before, keeping up with that maturity level can be key to maximizing both the effectiveness of the books chosen and keeping the interest of a little one in an increasingly technologically-influenced world. Choosing books based on your child’s age and needs might be tough, but here are a few tips for keeping things easy and fun.

Content is key

Choosing books requires a little previewing on the parents’ part. A four-year-old is definitely not ready for Harry Potter (despite how much a Potter fanatic parentchoosing books might wish they were), but board books are outside their realm of interest by then as well. In choosing books, parents must preview each book carefully and decide whether or not their child is ready for – or past – the content. Of course, perennial favorites defy age and maturity limits, but in choosing books that might be new, knowing the books is important before ever turning the first page.

Length does matter

In choosing books for storytime, parents must keep in mind the attention span of their child. A toddler might be interested for a few moments, making shorter, easier books good choices, but school-age children have longer frames in which they will pay attention and absorb. Appropriate length in stories increases as children age, and introducing longer, multi-part books (like chapter books), broken up over the course of a few nights, can be done maybe even earlier than you think. Choosing books that are too short or too long for your child’s attention span can be an interest killer, so knowing the child is key in this area.

Comprehension keeps interest

choosing booksKnowing the strength of your child’s vocabulary and their openness to learning new words can also factor into choosing books. Children who hear too many words they don’t understand tend to zone out of a story, while language that is too simplistic might frame a story for an older child as “for babies”. Meeting the needs of your child’s vocabulary and comprehension is a tough balance to strike, but doing so is critically important to keeping interest and enjoyment where it should be.

Choosing books can still be fun

Sure, there is a lot to be considered when choosing books for your child, but it need not be a chore you sweat over and worry about – it can still be fun! Let your child help choose the next book or story from a selection you’ve approved for them, giving them the ownership over the process. Most of all, though, you’ll want to make sure that whatever books or stories you choose for your child, they are both appropriate and entertaining, ensuring reading time stays a part of the day you both look forward to.


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