Teaching your child to love reading is a daunting yet rewarding task. Once your little one begins to explore the world of words, it will be the beginning of a wonderful journey. However, there are an overwhelming number of books in libraries and bookstores and choosing the right one could be quite challenging. Here are some recommendations from reading experts, teachers and experienced parents to help you choose the best ones for your beginner to enjoy:
- Know your child’s reading level. Children’s reading ability is not solely dependent on their age. There are children who have developed advanced reading skills while some encounter difficulties. It is essential to find out your youngster’s reading level so you can match which books will most benefit your child. If a book is too easy, your child might get bored. If it is too difficult, your child might become frustrated and discouraged. Finding the right match is key to better reading comprehension and mastery of literacy skills. If you do not know your child’s reading level, you can ask their teacher as reading assessments are usually determined at your child’s school.
- Know your child’s interests. If your child is interested in dinosaurs, spaceships, dolls or whatever else, make an effort to look for books that delve into these topics. Whether it is fiction or non-fiction, the books that will most likely grasp your child’s attention are the ones that have their favourite animals and heroes in the storyline.
- Share your childhood favourites. It could be children’s classics or stories that you loved from your childhood. If you still have your childhood storybooks, then enjoy reading them together. If not, browse online to see if your nearest library or bookstore still carries those titles. Don’t be disheartened if your children do not share the same enthusiasm for the books¬¬ that once had you engrossed – it could be that they are not yet at that level of interest.
- Make it fun and entertaining. Books with colourful pictures that accompany the text work well for early readers e.g. a picture of a green caterpillar with the words “a green caterpillar crawling…” Developing readers will enjoy activity books or books that provide answers to their innumerable questions. Cookbooks, how-to books and the like will engage their attention. Independent readers will appreciate instructional materials, fact books or stories with strong storylines.
- Ask the experts. Do not hesitate to ask librarians, teachers or reading specialists about which books are best for your child. They have experience and know-how on reading measurements as well as exposure to a variety of reading material. Also consider award-winning publications for children’s literature. These include popular authors who have captured the literary world and have received merits for their exemplary stories.