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Childrens Books

Choosing Childrens Books...

It is important that children's books are chosen carefully.

choosing childrens books
Children have different needs and interests at different stages of their development.

The maximum benefit can be gained if the book chosen meets the child's needs.

This needs to be taken into account.

There are, however, some general points to consider when choosing childrens books and these are listed below...

Guidelines For Choosing Books For Young Children

Books are a powerful way of influencing children's views about the society they live in.

Books for children must, therefore, reflect positive images of all sections of society, in both the text and the illustrations.

0-3 Years
  • Picture books are appropriate for this age range, especially for children under 1 year.
  • Where there is text, it needs to be limited, especially for children aged 0-1.
  • The pictures need to have bright colours and bold shapes.
  • The pictures need little detail. They need to be simplified so that they are easily identified - the most obvious features stressed.
  • Children enjoy familiar themes, for example families, animals etc.
  • The complexity of pictures and text can be increased for children aged 2+.
  • The context of the story time is as important as the book itself; the cosy, close and intimate time gives children a positive association with books and reading.
3-5 Years
  • Repitition is important - for language development and for the enjoyment of the sound and rhythm of language.
  • Books need to be reasonably short, to match children's concentration span.
  • Books need minimum language with plenty of pictures that relate to the text.
  • Popular themes are still everyday objects and occurances.
5-7 Years
  • A clearly identifiable story and setting are important.
  • Children's wider interests, experiences and imagination should be reflected in themes.
  • The characters can be developed through the story.
  • Language can be richer - playing with rhyme and rhythm, the introduction of new vocabulary and the use of repitition for dramatic effect.
  • Illustrations still need to be bold, bright and eye-catching, but can be more detailed and have more meaning than pure recognition.
  • Sequenced stories become popular - with a beginning, middle and end.
  • The storyline needs to be easy to follow with a limited number of characters.
  • Repitition is important so that the reader or listener can become involved in the text.
  • Animated objects are popular - children can enter into the fantasy.
  • Children enjoy humour in stories, but it needs to be obvious humour, not puns or sarcasm.

Planning Story Time

Story time needs to be planned as carefully as any other activity for children.

The following points should be considered for all story telling, whether on a one-on-one basis, or in a small or large group.

  • The choice of a book should be appropriate to the child/children involved.

  • Allow the child to see the pages as the story is being told.
  • Point to the words as you read them, demonstrating left to right tracking and identifying individual words as you say them. This will help children to develop aural reading and writing skills.
  • Tell of the story enthusiastically; showing that you are enjoying it.
  • Talk about the book after you have read it through.
When telling a story to a group of children you also need to think about:
  • The area - it should be cosy, quiet, warm and comfortable.
  • The structure of the session - introduction, story, discussion topics and questions, rhymes or songs appropriate, where possible, to the story.
  • Visual aids - storyboard, puppets and props.
  • Behaviour management - how will you manage the behaviour to minimise interruptions and to make sure that all children can be involved in the session.

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