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!
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. http://www.lightningbuglearning.com