February 9, 2011

What makes a good toddler book?

Finding a book that toddlers will love is tricky. In particular the books we read aloud in a group. While toddlers will happily leaf through almost any book, when we gather as a group suddenly the book has to meet specific criteria. Toddlers need a book that is more in-depth than the books with a picture and one word on each page, but they disengage quickly with longer books with a  paragraph on each page.

Over the last 6 months or so I’ve been learning from my kids what makes a good toddler book.

It must have pictures. Toddlers are visual; they love to point at the pictures and comment on what they see. The pictures can be simple or complex, colourful or black and white. They must relate to the story being told.

The subject should be relatable. Young children are drawn to things they understand and know. They love stories about animals, other children, things they see in their day to day life.

There should only be one sentence per page. Toddlers want to get on with the action. If you don’t turn the page quickly enough, they’ll turn it for you even if you haven’t finished what you’re reading.
The words need to be easy to read out loud. The best toddler books have a rhythm as you read them; the words seem to sing as you tell the story. Extra points if there is some rhyme as well.

Tune in tomorrow for a couple of my kids favourites.
(photo credit)

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