Libraries and book stores can be overwhelming with shelves of hundreds of different books, displaying colorful pages and catchy titles. However, what’s not jumping out at you is actually the most important part of the book. The meat of the book, the words on each of the pages, and the message that it can conveys is often times what we are skipping over when picking out a book.

Have you ever thought to yourself “How do I select the right book for my child?” Here are some strategies to help guide you through the book store or your amazon shopping cart. 

Tips for picking a book for your child:

  1. Take it for a test drive!

The library is a great resource –don’t be afraid to use it. Librarians are always aware of the new books that have come out. Children can get tired of a book pretty fast, and a great way to keep up with their interest is to let them pick out a book to try. If it fizzles you can send it back – if it becomes a favorite, you can buy it! This is also a great way to try out that book on amazon that is jumping out at you with the fancy cover before buying the book your child might not even look at.

  1. Repetitive Phrasing

Books with repetitive phrasing (think, “I don’t know why she swallowed the…..perhaps she’ll…”) are great opportunities for interactive reading. When reading aloud with your child, pause so they can sound out their favorite word, or fill it in with them. When children begin to explore books for the first time, it is the repetitive phrasing that really draws them in to the story. Repetitive phrasing also serves as a huge educational component to help your child follow a story plot. These books also help provide predictability which can help a child with processing. The less they have to remember, the easier it is for them to process!

Hints When Reading with Your Child

  • Pause allowing your child to fill in the word
  • Give an expectant look – it shows your child you are excited to hear what they have to say next
  • Once they have the fill in words help them learn the whole repetitive phrase
  • Take turns reading pages
  • Make it fun, don’t be afraid to be silly

Great Books With repetitive Phrases

  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
  • Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by James Dean
  • The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
  • Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
  • The Little Old Lady Who was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams
  • There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly! By Lucille Colandro
  • It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw
  • If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
  • Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London
  • The Napping House by Audrey Wood
  1. Pictures

Pictures can be a great resource to help build conversations, and for identifying things that your child sees on the page.  Pictures can also help tie in real life items for your child.

Tips for Using Pictures

  • On each page, have your child touch main things that they see. For example: touch apple
  • Too many pictures on a page can be distracting, pick books with clear pictures
  • Ask your child questions about the picture Example: What color is the ball?
  1. Ask the teacher

Teachers are reading books with your children every day, and are always happy to provide suggestions and guidance to books. They know what your child enjoys reading.  Teachers are always exploring new books, and different levels that are appropriate for each student, and can help guide you to the right books that provide introduction to phonics, comprehension and informational texts. Don’t be afraid to reach out!

With so many books on the shelves, we hope that some of these tips will help you narrow down your choices. For more guidance in picking out a good book for your child join us for The Shafer Center book fair starting on April 27th at the Barnes and Noble in Pikesville.  More information will be forthcoming and we hope to see you there!

Happy Reading!

By Alyssa Altman M.S.Ed

For more information on The Shafer Center call 410-517-1113