Children can develop a deep love for reading if their parents begin early and read books to them on a consistent basis. Children's books are great fun and an excellent way for parents to engage their child’s developing mind. Age-appropriate books introduce young children to language, help them acquire important language skills and are a great way for parents and other caring adults to connect with children in a meaningful way.
The type of books read to a young child contributes to their depth of learning. Parents should try to include a variety of books for their child’s library.
- Picture storybooks. These books remain favorites long after the preschool years. Select rhyming stories and books with repeated, patterned sounds.
- Participation books. Young children delight in following the books’ suggestions, such as clapping their hands, covering their eyes or touching their toes. Books with flaps that can be lifted also promote interaction.
- Informational books. Select book topics that your child has a natural interest in. Some informational books label the illustrations in the book, helping to introduce written language to children.
- Patterned concept books. Expand your child’s understanding of an idea, theme or relationship. Books with a strong pattern and rhythmic flow help a child read along with an adult and predict what language will come next on the page.
- Predictable books. Involve your child in the reading experience. The patterned language, repetitive phrases and predictable storylines help your preschoolers anticipate what is coming next and to understand language. The older preschool child will often be able to repeat elements of these stories when the book is reread, which is an important pre-reading skill.
- Wordless books. Parents must interpret the stories from the pictures by examining details and expressions carefully. This experience helps your child focus on sequence in stories.
- Folktales and fables. Many of the stories have a moral concept or theme. Most folktales and fables have some cultural context or historical base and help a child learn about diverse cultures and experiences.
- Poetry. Verse introduces the reader to the sounds of language. Rhyming poetry, especially with playful words, help a child develop phonemic awareness.
- Nursery rhymes. These are a natural for a young child. They are often recited from memory by parents or grandparents. Children raised on nursery rhymes will pass these tales on to their children.
- Alphabet books. Alphabet or ABC books are used to help a child recognize letters and realize that letters are used in language.
- Counting books. Number books are important because they introduce the concept that numbers are symbols for counting, just as letters are symbols for sounds and words.
- Rhyming books. Rhyming stories are fun and provide lots of opportunities to read with emotion and to change the loudness and softness of the voice. Hearing stories that contain rhymes prepares children for reading by helping them focus on the sounds in words.