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December 13, 2019 2 min read

Most children have an extensive list of toys and gadgets that they would like to receive during the holiday season.  While many parents may agree that books would make an excellent addition to their children's lists, some may wonder what kind of books to buy.  

While you can certainly buy books online, we recommend visiting an actual bookstore so that you can get help from the staff if you need it and you can take the time to read the books that you might purchase.  When choosing books, it is best to buy different types of books including lower and higher-level books (levels are usually written on the spine of the book). Before you shop, make sure you know your child’s reading level and if you don’t, ask his/her teacher.   

Lower-level books (A, B, 1, etc.)  are good for reading practice but the text can sometimes be repetitive and not very exciting.  Therefore, in order to help motivate your child to want to read them, they should be based mostly on the interest of what they like (i.e. animals, Pixar, Disney or other characters, building stuff, fact books, etc)  One way to find out what interests your child is to take a trip with them to the bookstore and follow their lead while they look around. Buy them one of the books that they show an interest in and then go back for the others when they aren't around for a surprise gift.

Buying higher-level books will help your children develop their love of reading and become more actively involved in the story which ultimately will help develop comprehension skills.  Make sure to look for books that have more complex storylines and interesting characters. These are books that are meant for reading together so don’t worry if your child can’t read all of the words. Take turns reading - sometimes your child can read to you and other times you can read to them. Listening to higher-level books being read aloud helps develop comprehension because you will be able to talk about what is happening in the book, answer questions, and explain unfamiliar words, terms or concepts. It also helps your child become more engaged in reading and fall in love with the idea of getting into a really good story.  Take time to go to a bookstore and read the books yourself. If you think they are good stories, most likely so will they.  

Round out your children’s gift lists with a selection of books that include a combination of lower-level high-interest books that encourage confidence and independent reading practice and engaging higher-level books that foster a love of reading and comprehension skills.  

Any questions?  Please email us at Janice@Neighborhoodlit.com.  Taylor Burke is a teacher and Director of Communications at Neighborhood Lit. and works closely with Janice Migliazza, a Reading Specialist and owner of Neighborhood Lit, Route 34, Colts Neck to bring you this information.

(Image by Sobima from Pixabay)