Although I’m with my preschool group all day, my time to read to them is limited. So when I have that quiet (mostly) time with all 8 of their little minds and eyes on me and this book I’m introducing, I want it to be time well spent. I want the book I’m about to read to be worthwhile and the experience beneficial.[xyz-ihs snippet=”Thank-you-for-reading-“]
Reading Every Day
Reading to young children is so important during these early years. This is how important: “We know that 90 percent of brain development happens before a child is 5,” she says. “If we wait until kids are in school, it’s too late.” pediatrician Jill Alexander explains. So reading to children is not just a fun and relaxing activity, it’s necessary for early language and literacy development.
Questions for Selecting Books
Here are some questions to ask about the book you’ve selected:
- Why are we reading this book? Will it introduce a new concept, expand their vocabulary, reinforce ideas we’ve already learned about? Are there rhyming words or a moral lesson that can be introduced?
- What will the children learn? Sometimes a book is just enjoyable. There may not be a major theme or concept that’s new, but there’s always something to learn. What is that going to be? Look through the book, read it and think about your group. What will they gain?
- Are they going to enjoy it? Let’s be straight – if it’s not enjoyable to the children you’re reading to, they won’t listen and won’t learn anything. Are the images attractive and colorful? What is going to attract their attention? What can you point out in the book that your group will enjoy? Don’t be afraid to expand on the text or point out something in the illustrations that your children will delight in.
- Will it hold their attention? If you’re going to spend time reading a book, you want children to listen. How does this book relate to your children? Is this book capable of holding their attention? Is it too long? Will they be able to understand it? Too many words are likely to drive them away to play instead of intently listening. A story line that’s too abstract may need a lot of explaining. Perhaps just sections of an informational book will be all you need to read about and expand on that with a related activity.
Choosing Books for Early Childhood
It’s important to realize that all children’s books are not created equal. Some are just better others. What qualities should you look for in a book? In the early childhood classroom environment, it depends on what you’re trying to teach. It also depends on the children you’re reading to.
Books should be age appropriate, culturally appropriate, free from bias, and accurately represent the topic.
- Here’s an article from NAEYC about choosing books: 10 Steps for Reviewing Children’s Books.
- Read also: Tips for Choosing Out Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers
- Another wonderful guide of Criteria to Evaluate Children’s Books
Enjoy reading quality books with your preschoolers!