Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Much is said about the importance of reading in childhood. There is a consensus among parents and teachers that encouraging the habit and taste for books can only bring benefits. But do you know which ones? Children's books can do wonders for the development of little ones. Besides showing you all the advantages, we want to teach you how to choose the right children's book for your children. Come along with us!




Summary

  • Reading can be encouraged from the first month of life. The earlier the baby has access to books, the better it will be for the development of the habit. For this you need to choose children's books suitable for the child's age.
  • Children's books have different styles and narratives. In the Purchase Criteria, we will address these concepts.
  • You can find sound books, pop-up books, cloth books, bath books, among other different options that attract your child's attention.

The Best Children's Books: Our Picks

Buying guide: all you need to know about children's books

In the early years, children's books help build vocabulary, improving comprehension and speech. Later in life, they play a key role in stimulating creativity and improving writing. Regardless of age, children's books are great allies in a child's development. Come and understand why throughout this guide.

Imagem de menina pequena vendo livro na sala

Books are great allies in children's development. (Source: Stephen Andrews / Unsplash.com)

How important is reading in childhood?

Reading brings benefits at various stages of a child, from birth through to adolescence. In the first months of life, books are a kind of toy for babies to manipulate, feel and have contact with from an early age. They should be simple, more sensorial than didactic. Books with animal pictures, for example, are great for parents to explore some vocabulary. This broadens understanding and helps with the construction of speech. As the child grows, the benefits become even clearer. Books help to stimulate concentration and focus, as the child needs to pay attention in order to understand events.

This requires a mental effort from them, even improving their memory capacity. Through stories, books stimulate creativity and imagination. Unlike videos, which give a ready-made image, when children just listen to a story, they need to imagine the characters, scenarios and the whole narrative. Furthermore, the habit of reading to children strengthens the bonds between parents and children, especially when it is part of the nightly ritual. It is a way of connecting with your children, creating affective memories for life. I could list countless more benefits, check out some more below:

Advantages
  • Improves writing
  • Stimulates willingness to learn
  • Allows space for expressing feelings
  • Expands knowledge to new cultures and realities
  • Extends acquisition of values
Disadvantages
  • There are no disadvantages in reading to a child

How can the habit of reading be stimulated from an early age?

Before thinking about stimulating the habit in a child, reflect on yourself. Is your reading up to date? Because example is a great stimulus for little ones.
Example is a great stimulus for children

Try having a reading moment in your day when your child can witness it, leave their books within reach and see what can happen.

Especially if the child does not have access to screens and there are no other stimuli available - such as TV or even too many toys - in the house, they will possibly start copying you over time. Anyway, having a reading moment between you is very important for her to enjoy reading, considering that the child needs this interaction and fun that the adult can provide by making the story more playful and fun. There are also tips that can help build this habit:

  1. Create a reading routine. Children love predictability. Try reading every day after bath time and before bedtime, for example. Soon the book will be as natural to the day as brushing your teeth.
  2. Make it a fun time. Reading the book in a monotonous, intoning way will be a boring experience. Stimulate, create suspense, ask questions, involve your child in the story.
  3. Respect their tastes and explore this universe. There is no use in imposing a book that you love and was a success in your childhood. Perhaps at another time there will be room for this reading. But for children to fall in love with literature, take their interests into consideration. Dinosaur is the topic of the moment? Use and abuse it!
  4. Introduce the spaces where books are available. How about an outing to visit the library or even the children's section of a bookshop? Let the child see different titles, and if possible, buy new books. She will soon have her own bookshelf full of them.

Menino deitado de bruços no chão com um livro e uma estante nos fundos

Little by little, create spaces for reading in the room and leave the books accessible. (Source: Pixabayl / Pexels.com)

How to make reading more interesting?

If you find it a challenge to tell the story of the book in an interesting way, know that you are not alone. This is, in fact, one of the biggest difficulties of parents, who hold back reading for lack of creativity. Intonation, facial expressions, gestures, puppets, toys and various objects are great allies of children's books. Also, turn off screens and all external stimuli.

What are the different types of children's books?

We divide books into types according to some aesthetic and interactive differences that can be very attractive and interesting for children. This classification does not concern genre, style or narrative. See the different options of children's books for your child to be delighted and interact with the story.

Type of children's book Highlight
Sonorous Reproduces sounds of the story, such as the sound of an animal or the creaking of a door, making reading more dynamic and real. There are also books that read the pages
Pop-up When the page is opened, some element of the story is projected in 3D out of the book, made with paper folding. When the page is closed again, that element folds and closes inside the page
Touch and feel This type of book allows the child to explore textures covered in the book. It is common in animal books, where the manufacturers try to reproduce the feeling of touch in them, such as sheep fur, chicken feet, dog's snout, among others
Cloth Soft and flexible, the cloth book does not tear, does not hurt the child and can have other elements mentioned before, such as sound and touch and feel
Bath Made of plastic, the bath book can be wet. It is excellent for parents who have little time available for the child, taking advantage of the bath to make a fun time and stimulate the taste for reading even in the shower

Purchase criteria: What to take into account when comparing different types of children's books

Convinced to offer the benefits of children's books to your children? Before you choose one or more books for your children, we want to assist with some final considerations. Here are the buying criteria that we consider important:

Age

The indicative age is usually on the back of the children's book. This criterion is fundamental if the child is to enjoy the story. Too many children's books can make the story boring. And when the book is over the age, it may cause fear or confusion. If in doubt, talk to your child's teacher and ask for tips. Also, be careful when choosing books for babies, choosing cloth or bath books that can be crushed and put in the mouth.

Narrative

Books have different narratives. This criterion is important for older children, who already concentrate and get stuck into the story. It is worth trying out different styles, alternating narratives so that your child awakens a taste for different literary styles. Some examples are novel, short story, fable, chronicles and legends and myths.

Theme

Theme is, in fact, what makes the story. Some books have a theme of working on emotions and values, others are designed to teach Bible passages in a playful way. There are children's books that serve to stimulate hygiene, or even options without much didactic content, only intended to entertain with the adventures of dinosaurs, for example. Again, take the child's taste into consideration, while still reflecting what you wish to transmit as learning.

Duration

This criterion is important to analyse considering your child, and also his or her age. Some children have less concentration power than others, in which case, less dense, faster and more objective stories are more suitable. However, it may be that you already have a small reader who is very interested in every word. For him, it is better to have longer books in which the reading can even be divided into stages.

Summary

Children's books can be part of a child's life from the first month of life. There are cloth and rubber models so that babies can grow up in contact with them. It is important to choose the right book according to the age of the child, so that they can experience all the benefits of literature from an early age. We hope this guide has helped you understand the different types of children's books. Now tell us, do you know where to start?

(Featured image source: Yael Gonzalez / Unsplash.com)

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