When choosing books for your child, there are many factors to consider and many reasons to purchase various books. Choosing children's books that create smart readers comes in several steps. At first it may seem complicated because there are so many books out there. But it's not all that difficult if you follow a few simple tips.
Take your child with you to shop for books Book shopping should not be done hurriedly. First, you must find the section of the store that is appropriate for your child's age and reading level. Once you have done this, allow your child to pick out several titles that look interesting. It's okay if your child picks more books than you are going to buy. You need to research the books first anyway. Don't be afraid to take a whole stack to a nearby table, counter, or chair so that you can sift through them.
Key points to look for:
Stimulation factor - If your child is not stimulated, she will not want to read the book. Have your child look over the book and maybe even read a few pages. If your child is interested, you are one step further. This will be easy for children who are interested in most books. Other children may take a while before finding something they like. That's okay. Each child is different. Do not give up hope if your child takes a while to decide. Your child should pick more than one stimulating book. Stimulating the mind can occur in many different ways. If your child is interested and engaged, chances are, his mind is being stimulated. Some children are stimulated by pictures. Others are stimulated by words, actions, or characters. How your child is stimulated does not matter. However, if your child does not get stimulated by any part of the book, it's time to choose a different book.
It's all in the details - Out of all the stimulating books your child has chosen, look for books that use details in describing characters and events. The books should use adjectives as often as possible. A book without many adjectives could be fairly boring. A book loaded with adjectives will invoke imagination and excitement. Your child should be able to picture what is going on, whether the book has illustrations or not. Also, in checking for details, you should ask yourself "Would I be able to ask my child questions from this book and expect to get detailed answers?" If you can answer yes, you have chosen a book with the correct details.
What levels do you need? - You should have a few books still left to move on to the next step with you. The last thing you should be looking for in a good book is the level. It should be slightly above your child's current level. Books will generally not be labeled at levels, unless they are readers. The best way to tell is to read a few paragraphs. If it is slightly harder than what your child normally reads, that's what you're looking for. The reason for this is to challenge the child. Do not go too high, though. Choosing too high of a level could instead discourage a child because it is simply too difficult to understand. If you can't tell by reading it yourself, have your child read aloud a small section. If your child gets most of it with ease, but struggles on a few words, this is the correct level to choose.
Be variant - Another important thing to remember is that books should be a variety of subjects and genres. Your child should have fiction as well as non-fiction. There should also poetry, short stories, and novels for children old enough to read novels. There should be classic and current books. Also, the child should not be limited to just stories on their favorite thing. The books should be about many different people, places, events, and things.
Tips for success:
The methods above can also be applied to library books. Do not feel obligated to always be purchasing books. The library is an excellent source to use. Children should be exposed to different books regularly, so if your budget doesn't support this, it's time to get a library card. There is no excuse for a child not being able to read when the library is free.
Never say your child hates to read. This is where many parents make a mistake and think that if their child cannot find an interesting book, their child must hate reading. Never speak the words reading and hate in a sentence together. This will further discourage a child who is struggling. Always encourage children. For a child who is taking longer than normal to choose, you might want to say something like "I know you like dinosaurs. Maybe we should look for a dinosaur book". Say this rather than "Hurry up. You always take too long to decide. We don't have time for this". Parents who choose the latter option in frustration will find that they will have problems with reading with their child.
Now you should have some good books that will help create smart readers. Encourage your child to read every day. While it's true that your child reads at school, your child should also be reading at home. Now that you know how to pick the correct books, your child should be well prepared and have a nice selection of books to choose from.