Think back to your time at school and you’ll probably remember skipping along merrily carrying a Velcro sealed book bag, complete with the classroom texts given to you by the teacher. Reading has always been an integral part of learning, which is why suppliers of educational products, such as Hope Education, provide many book-related products.
A simple story can soon become a childhood favourite, teaching kids about important aspects of life, but is there more behind the books we read? And what helps them stand out from the crowd? Are the colours, themes and images as deliberately placed as they might seem? And what children’s books should we be buying for our youngsters? Well, here’s a more detailed analysis of the literature out there:
There are many popular picture books out there including well-known tales such as Goodnight Moon, The Giving Tree, The Cat in the Hat and Polar Express. These are all books in which the illustrations play a significant role in telling the story and tend to be extremely easy to read and understand. They’re ideal for younger children getting to grips with English language and tend to contain some kind of life fact or moral message; although nothing too complicated.
Books under this umbrella include:
- Board books
Board books, such as Max and Ruby by Rosemary Wells, are often designed for very young children. They have a hard cover and are robust, making them easy for small hands to flick through and grab at the pages. Board books also tend to be concept books and teach things like colours, animals, numbers, body parts and shapes in the most obvious way possible. They usually have between 12-16 pages and can include flaps.
- Early picture books
While a little more sophisticated than board books – aimed at children between two and five years of age – early picture books are still made up of very simple stories. Texts are short (usually 500 words or less) and there’s usually a bright, colourful image on every page to help make the story clear to understand. Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a perfect example of this genre.
- Standard picture books
Again, standard picture books are a little more advanced than early picture books and are written for children between the ages of four and eight. This kind of story usually has 32 pages, simple plot lines and multiple illustrations to walk children through a slightly more complex tale. There are no plot twists or subplots usually and the main character should be easy for youngsters to relate to.
As the reading abilities of children progress, they can move onto easy reader books which can be read with an adult or alone. While similar to standard picture books in terms of images, they tend to be longer, slightly more sophisticated looking (as in smaller and thinner) and are often broken up into small chapters.
Transition books help people move from easy readers to more difficult chapter books. They are longer in length and usually have black and white images, encouraging the child to use his/her imagination more and explore the text in detail rather than rely on images for clarification.
By the time a child reaches the age of seven to ten, they can usually start to read more grown-up chapter books. The sentence structure of these books tends to be more complex and although the paragraphs are kept small and concise, interesting and detailed plot lines start to immerge. Cliff-hangers are also used at the end of chapters to keep children reading and multiple characters are introduced rather than just one. There are a host of wonderful chapter books out there but it’s the classics from the likes of Roald Dahl and J.M.Barrie that can stay with a child forever.
Reading helps children learn all about the world they live in and fuels their imagination, so always encourage your youngsters to pick up a book.