This is an all too familiar scene for us…we are at the library and I tell the kiddos to pick out books. My two preschoolers head over to the book section and grab a handful of 5 books and toss them in a pile and head somewhere else. Great. They hardly looked at them before dumping them in our book pile! Since I’m usually busy keeping my baby happy, I only get a quick glance at what they picked out. We check them out and when we get home to read the books we sometimes find that the books are not what they’re interested in, too long, or too hard to understand. I had enough of this and decided to teach my kids how to pick out good books independently at the library!
Have you been there? Maybe your child is awesome at picking out books, but my boys needed a little training. Here are the steps I taught my preschoolers for picking out books.
1. Look at the Cover
Look at the cover and decide if it interests you. I’m fairly certain that everyone looks at the cover first when picking out a new book. It’s natural to be attracted to the illustrations on the cover. They really do draw in a young reader!
2. Do a Picture Walk
Take a picture walk through the book. Actually open the book and flip through the pictures. Are the illustrations interesting to you? Do the pictures make you want to read the book to find out what’s happening? Pictures are so important for young children.
3. Glance at the Text
Look at the words. Are there a lot of words in the book? Perhaps too many (like an informational book)? Or maybe there are only a few words on a page (like a baby book). This may be a hard skill to teach preschoolers, but you can teach them that some books have too many or too little words to keep their interest.
4. Figure Out the Topic
Since most preschoolers can’t read yet, the child will use the illustrations to try to figure out what the book is about. Typically, a child will pick out books that have a topic that interests them. Sometimes they will pick topics that are familiar to them or they have a connection with (ex: picking a book about a pet dog if they own a dog). Or perhaps a book is in a series and they want to read more from the series.
Decide if you want to check out the book. If so, add it to the pile of books. If not, put it back on the shelf and keep looking.
I have to tell you…after teaching this to my kids, going to the library has been much more successful! They choose books that are good for them and we get to enjoy story time together without frustrations!
If you’d like to print the 5 steps, you can download the printable here —> 5 Steps to Choosing Books for Preschoolers