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Choosing Childrens Books

"If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they'll have with twenty-six. Open your child's imagination. Open a book." ~ Author Unknown Looking at picture books or reading story books can bring a child immense pleasure as well as contribute to their development. It is never too early to introduce children to books. Below are some tips to consider when choosing books that are age-appropriate.

Babies and Toddlers ? Very young children are stimulated and interested by brightly coloured pictures of simple objects and shapes. ? Board books and cloth books have the advantage of being hardwearing. ? They respond well to books that have tactile elements for example cloth books with different textures and materials. ? As they become toddlers they start to fine-tune listening skills and they respond well to books with simple texts and good rhythms.

? Also wordless books offer visual and mental stimulation by allowing the child to use their imagination to create their own stories. Nursery School or Pre-school Children ? Nursery stories and books showing images of things familiar to them are enjoyable to children at this age. ? They also tend to enjoy stories with themes that mirror their experiences. ? As children at this age develop their ability to read simple words, books with more complex text with rhythm and repetition become enjoyable to listen to and read. ? As their co-ordination develops they can have fun with interactive books for instance that move, pop up or involving them pressing buttons. Primary school Years (5-8 years) ? Bear in mind that very few children learn to read before they are 5 years old.

Most learn at 5 and some learn a little after. It need not be a cause for concern if your child appears slows at reading in this phase. ? At this stage children love to read or listen to stories that have strong storylines and characters and of course pictures that help them to understand what is happening. ? If your child has developed a keen interest in reading and likes to read alone, choose books by publishers who produce what are called an `Easy Reader` series style of book.

These books have words and themes from everyday use and often moving from easy to difficult reading levels. ? There are a wide range of books available to children at this stage. Fiction books inspire imagination and creative thinking. Also information books on a whole range of topics are also available. Choose books that encourage their interests and satisfy their curiosity about the world around them.

Older Children (9-12 years and older) ? Choose books with the child in mind. Suggest books that reflect their interests and tastes. ? Age level and suitability is often indicated on the book jacket. This is a good guideline. But if your child needs the challenge do not be afraid to buy books that are children a little older than your child.

? Children at this age also like to look at well illustrated books. ? Some children's books have become what you would call `classics`. These types of books should be part of a child's library. They have great appeal which is why they are called classics. They can be enjoyed also by the family when read out loud together. ? While classics have their appeal and place in a child's reading experience, so do contemporary books dealing with contemporary themes.

Again, a child's personality will determine the kinds of things they are interested in. Storing and displaying books for children is something that needs some thoughts. When they are very young, storing them in baskets makes them accessible. As they get older you may wish to make the best use of limited space in a bedroom by building shelves.

Ensure that they are at a height that makes the books accessible. Encouraging children to take care of their books as well of library books is important. Encouraging children to put their books away in their special space in their room and keeping shelves tidy is all part of them learning respect for books and of course learning to keep their room tidy! Bookends help to keep books tidy. They can be decorated with your child's favourite theme or reflecting the theme of the child's room décor. There are many resources on the internet that support you in choosing and storing books for your children.

With a little thought you can help your child to create a magical space filled with books well chosen that will delight them over and over again.

Joanne Luck runs and own The Natural Kids Company, a family run business supplying children's bedroom accessories as decorative bookends to complement any room theme.

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