How to Choose a Great Children’s Book to Inspire Reading



Parents and educators hear time, and again, how crucial it is to introduce quality literature into

the lives of children. Reading is one of the most enjoyable ways to learn new skills, expand

imagination and develop critical thinking skills. Books make excellent gifts and the following

tips will help you select the right book for your favorite reader! If the book is not a gift, bring

your child along to choose a book and guide the selection process.

1. The best place to begin is with what interests your child. Is your child into sports?

Futuristic adventures? Mysteries? Rhymes? Silly poetry? Fairy tales and princesses? Animals

or how-to books? When your child is interested in the topic, he or she is more likely to read the


2. Selecting the correct reading level for your child is important. A book that is too difficult will

frustrate your child and a book that is too easy will result in boredom. Talk with your child’s

teacher to the general reading level. If you need specific title suggestions for your child’s

reading level, Google search “Accelerated Reader book lists”. Book titles will display a

numeric code which suggests a reading level. For example, 1.2 = First grade, second month,

3.6 = Third grade, sixth month.

3. Think about what the book will offer your child. A fun tale? A moral? Interaction by

encouraging participation? Open up imagination and worlds of wonder? Introduce new

vocabulary or a new skill? If the book doesn’t offer something worthwhile, keep searching.

4. A good book will offer enjoyable, quality illustrations. An early reader should have vibrant

and engaging illustrations that match the text. A chapter book will offer fewer pictures, but

may have diagrams, maps and charts to appease the curiosity of older children.

5. Another quality of a well thought out book is the addition of support materials. Is there a

parent guide, teacher guide, companion journal, or audio CD? Is there a movie based on the

book? Additional materials will help you extend learning and keep discussions open about

your child’s latest reading adventure!

6. If you plan to read the book only once, check it out from the library. If you and your child

plan to read it again and again, obtain a durable, hardcover copy for your home library.

7. Some terrific books will be award winners, but not all great books win a shiny medal. Award-winning

books have been selected by a committee of experts, including librarians, teachers and

booksellers, as having excellent qualities. Award winning books can be a good choice, especially

if the topic and illustrations are appealing to your child.

Books can become a treasured item. They make a great gift, especially when inscribed for a

special occasion such as a holiday or birthday. I still have special books from my childhood,

dedicated to me by thoughtful relatives. I plan to share these worn literary treasures with my

own family. I hope you find some great books and start your own reading traditions!

Early Reading

Julie Rebboah has been a professional educator since 1998. She has been an Early Reading Intervention instructor, an English language development teacher, and a private tutor. Julie wrote Magic Letters; The Keys to the World of Words and Magic Words; Discovering the Adventure of Reading out of a need to provide materials to support and extend learning in her diverse classroom.