Discovery Point Blog

February 18, 2020

Discovering Books for Children of All Ages

Reading helps develop language skills and sparks curiosity, making it one of the most important activities you can participate in with your child – no matter their age. Reading stories aloud with your child can help expose them to new sounds and words that contribute to building vocabulary and early literacy skills. As they grow older, reading can give them a better understanding of the value of books and the impact that stories can have on people’s lives.

Reading can even go so far as to help your child build crucial social and communication skills. Storytelling, in general, is an excellent tool for teaching children the difference between real and imaginary things. It also helps give them the context they need to understand different events, emotions, and changes that are occurring in their lives.

Whether you share a much-loved book from your own childhood or browse your local library’s shelves for something new and exciting, there are countless books to choose from for all ages and reading levels. Most young children respond best to books that have plenty of rhyme and rhythm, as well as repetition. If you’re looking for a good place to start, read below for some of our top picks for different age groups.

Infants to 3 Years: Board Books

Board books are a fantastic way to promote your baby’s first interaction with literature and can expose them to new textures and images. Many board books are even constructed with soft cloth or waterproof plastic to make them suitable for different parts of your baby’s daily routine — from nap time to bath time.

There’s no reason to wait when it comes to starting to read to your baby out loud. Even if they do not yet understand the words, they’ll be soothed by hearing the rhyme, rhythm, and tonal changes in your voice. He or she can begin looking at the high-contrast pictures that are almost always included in board books.

At Discovery Point, we are particularly fond of the Sandra Boynton board books. A few of our favorites include The Going to Bed Book, Snuggle Puppy, and Pajama Time.

Ages 3+: Picture Books

Preschoolers can benefit from daily reading sessions with picture books and should be encouraged to trace words as they’re spoken and turn pages when the time is right. At this age, you can easily engage with your child about the story you’re reading, asking them questions to engage their understanding and spark imagination.

Preschoolers often enjoy picture books with funny storylines, characters from their own age group, and a focus on learning milestones such as the alphabet, shapes, and numbers. At this stage, it’s easy to find books that fit with your child’s individual interests, whether that’s animals, sports, or nature.

Some favorite books for 3-to-5-year olds include: Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, The Wonderful Things You’ll Be by Emily Winfield Martin, and Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night by Brianna Caplan Sayers.

Ages 5+: Early Reader Books

Early reader books give your child the chance to practice reading with your help and on their own. These types of books are seen as stepping stones between picture books and chapter books. You’ll find books in this category still use simple repetitive words that are easy for children to grasp, but they rely less on pictures than books designed for less advanced readers.

Most early reader books utilize character-driven storylines to draw readers in and get them hooked. If your child isn’t expressing an interest in reading on their own, don’t hesitate to bring these books into your shared storytime. 

Continue using techniques like asking questions about the plot and using different voices for each character to show your child that books with more words and fewer pictures are still just as enthralling as picture books.

Try Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat or Clementine by Sara Pennypacker for spunky characters that will inspire your young reader. We also like You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together by Mary Ann Hoberman. This is a great book for practicing reading together.

Ages 6+: First Chapter Books

Intermediate readers can dive right into chapter books. While many chapter books for this age group do have illustrations to keep things visually interesting, they focus on telling a story through prose and require a deeper level of focus and breadth of vocabulary than either picture books or early reader books. Well-written chapter books often captivate newly independent readers, and many children won’t need too much encouragement or supervision to finish them.

If your child is overwhelmed by the rows and rows of chapter books that line bookstore and library shelves, you can’t go wrong by starting with a classic like Ronald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox or The Cam Jansen Series by David A. Adler or The Jada Jones Series by Kelly Starling Lyons. The key to these books is finding a character or concept that ignites their imagination and love of books so they become excited to keep reading.

Reading with your child is sure to build memories that you’ll both cherish for years to come. With these tips and book recommendations, you can help expose your child to the magical world of reading and storytelling at an early age and encourage them to grow into avid readers throughout their childhood.