“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” ― Stephen King
Nothing is more magical when you can read a children’s book out loud to an audience of one or one thousand. The results are always the same – pure enjoyment! In this writing I’d like to discuss some ways you can choose an appropriate book that is suited not only to the child’s reading level, but also to your curriculum.
In order to guarantee a winning experience for everyone, you’ll want to make sure the book you pick out is of good quality. You can make a list of several books you feel could be engaging and interesting to children. Then go to a library and take a personal look at them.
Once you have a few books, take a good look at their illustrations inside. Children will pick up on these first, so make sure they pop out at you! Next, start reading the text and see how it matches up to the illustrations. Will the children enjoy the pictures? Is the color vivid in them? Now – take a look at both the text and the illustrations. Does the text coordinate with what you see in the illustrations? How about story arc? Does it have a solid beginning, building to conflict and a resolve or twist at the end of the story?
You may want to read some of your favorite picture books you loved when you were a kid. However, times change and your favorites may not be what the children of today want. It has been shown that several books published before 1970 were stereotypes about women and minorities (Chambers 1983). You may also be tempted to choose the very popular E.B. White’s Newbery Honor book, Charlotte’s Web. But this title is beyond the grasp of preschoolers through first graders. You do not want to put a stop to a child’s motivation by introducing a book beyond their level of understanding.
You want to choose picture books that go well with your curriculum. A wonderful seasonal title, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg has descriptive text and vivid illustrations that make reading the book out loud extraordinary for children. Also, The House that Jack Built by author/illustrator Simms Taback is an excellent choice for emergent reading.
In my next blog, I’ll continue talking about more ways both you and the children can enjoy sharing great books.
8 Ways Picture Books Meet Young Children’s Needs – Part 1 (July 29, 2014) http://www.kobeemanatee.com/8-ways-picture-books-meet-young-childrens-needs-part-1/
8 Ways Picture Books Meet Young Children’s Needs – Part 2 (August 1, 2014)
How to Navigate the World of Picture Book Genres (August 11, 2014)
~ Robert Scott Thayer