Choosing Books for Young Children in Child Care

Dr. Seuss books

Child care providers can introduce young children to the world of reading by choosing books that match their age, development, and interests. A child’s book is something special—a world of ideas and fun. Child care providers can help children learn to love the world of reading by introducing books that capture their interest. To be most effective, books need to be appropriate to the age and developmental level of the children in the group, and appropriate to the interests of the particular children. Here are some basic tips child care providers should consider when choosing books for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Babies and Toddlers Like…

  • board books with simple stories
  • photos of familiar things like babies, clothing, and toys
  • photos of children doing familiar things like sleeping or playing
  • goodnight books for bed time
  • books about saying good-bye and hello
  • animal books of all sizes and shapes
  • books with simple words and good rhythms
  • vinyl and cloth books, which have interesting textures

Preschoolers Like…

  • books with a lot of action, pictures and repetition
  • stories about themselves or others their own age
  • stories that rhyme
  • real-life stories, such as those involving fire engines, tractors, horses, etc
  • books with repeated sounds, words, or ideas (“Daddy Bear climbed the tree. Mommy Bear climbed the tree. Baby Bear climbed the tree.”)
  • stories with funny-sounding words (“Bzzz went the honey bee.” “Clickety clack, clickety clack went the train along the track.” “The farmer walked through the snow—crunch, crunch, crunch.”)
  • stories that can be read in 5-10 minutes, with one or two lines on each page
  • stories with happy endings
  • books with pictures that help tell the story

For More Information

To learn more about books in child care, take a look at the following eXtension Alliance for Better Child Care articles:

If you’re looking for activities to expand on favorite children’s stories, check out the database of Story-Stretching Ideas for Child Care.

Photo by evelynishere / CC BY