5 Types of Books for Kids

It’s known that exposing children to reading at an early age will help enhance their neurological, psychological, linguistic and social development. As a parent, educator, librarian, or community-leader, you might wonder what types of books are best to boost this development.

Here are five of my favorite types of books to encourage literacy and inspire a love of reading:

  1.  Books That Match a Child’s Interests

It’s enjoyable to read about topics that align with your own interests. Hearing this seems like common sense but it may be somediverse-poetry-1-400x597thing that we forget when picking out books on behalf of children. Asking a child what topics they would like to learn more about is a great way to allow their voice to be heard, express themselves, and explore aspects of their identity.

 

  1. Poetry Books

Poetry is a powerful means of presenting a story as it speaks right to the emotions of the reader. For kids, learning the power of words when arranged in a certain manner will lay the foundation not just for creative wording but for other forms of imaginative thinking.

 

  1. Books You Enjoyed When You Were Young9780060254926

First of all, there is no guarantee that a child will like all the books you did. However, there is always that curiosity of wanting to know why you loved a particular book, what it is that drew you in, and what they can possibly get from it. This adds a whole new layer of attraction.

 

  1. Books that are a Little Advanced for their Level

From board books to picture books, then chapter books and beyond. A kid might be ready for a more advanced type of book at any time. A good way to uncover their advancement is to expose children to books that are a bit higher level for their age. When they are ready, they will just find themselves not putting the book down.

 

  1. Board Books

For the very youngest who might not have a clue whether a book is some kind of treat or something to practice their board-books-ripping skills on, a board book is the best place to start. It will (hopefully) withstand all their destructive attempts, and it is easy for the kid’s tiny hands to interact with books for the first time during a read-to-me session.

 

 

These are just some types of books that will give children an affirmative early experience with literature, positively affecting different aspects of their development and encouraging future use of books. You can read up on other types of books that children should be exposed to in this article, which inspired this post. Can you think of any other types of beneficial children’s books not on the list?

Reading as Therapy?

A recent column in the Nevada Appeal discussed the “toxic stress” that children living in poverty encounter and how being faced with these stresses on a daily basis affects the brain, learning, and behavior. I was particularly drawn to this article because it later went on to discuss that, in addition to necessary social programs, reading aloud to children can help to combat this physiology stress.

 

However, with kindles, audio books, and the internet a simple click away for a portion of the population, it can be easy to forget that books are not readily available to everyone and libraries, specifically in low-income communities, are in danger of going extinct. In an article on the Huffington Post by David M. Rader, he stated that in low-income Reading Stairs newneighborhoods the standard is one book for every three-hundred kids as opposed to middle and upper-class neighborhoods where there is an average of thirteen books for every child. This is startling, as studies have shown that simply having access to books and reading materials directly affects future employment opportunities, income, socioeconomic status, and long-term education.

 

Even though the article focused on Nevada social issues, it still rings true in many other US cities, including Chicago. This particularly sparked my interest as I thought of the Lost Boyz Inc Library Project, an initiative to create a library for children ages 4-18 on the city’s South Side.  With over 90% of the children served by Lost Boyz Inc’s programs coming from low-income families, they not only face the stress of limited resources but also the threat of violence, in a city that has already experienced 341 homicides since January.  Lost Boyz’s has already helped many children with their beneficial organized sports, mentorships, and educational programs — we hope that the creation of a library will provide these kids with a safe space to learn and grow.

 

 

 

 

References:

http://www.booksourcebanter.com/2015/05/08/why-do-poor-students-lag-behind-rich-students-in-reading-development/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-m-rader/opportunity-gaps-matter-a_b_8077184.html

http://www.thefrisky.com/2015-08-26/librarians-are-delivering-books-by-bike-to-low-income-neighborhoods/

http://crime.chicagotribune.com/chicago/homicides

http://www.nevadaappeal.com/news/opinion/17711849-113/fresh-ideas-reading-is-antidote-to-toxic-stress