Helping Children Select Books

It is not uncommon for children to go to the school library (or community library) and spend the allocated time wandering around with no books to check-out when it is time to leave.

In addition, children are often reluctant to consider recommendations from adults. Instead, try the following strategies which are based on determining the reason for the child selecting a book.

When choosing a book, the number one question is: What is the reason or purpose for selecting the books? It could be to:

  • Complete a school assignment.
  • Be entertained or to entertain another person.
  • Find instructions for making something or doing an activity.
  • Find the answer to a question or more information on a topic about which you are curious.

Brainstorm with your class (or child) to make a list of all the different reasons for selecting a book.

The purpose of selecting the book will then inform the scaffolding you can provide to assist in the selection process.

Purpose: Information or Instructions

  • Look at the title.
  • Look at the pictures and diagrams.
  • Read a few a few lines.
  • Look at the contents page or the index page.
  • Ask for recommendations from friends, classmates, librarians or family members.

Purpose: Entertain

  • Look at the title and cover page.
  • Another book by an author you like.
  • A genre you like reading.
  • Another book in the series.
  • Look at the size of the book and the size of the font.
  • Topic of interest.
  • Look at any pictures.
  • Read the description on the flap or back cover.
  • Read the first page.
  • Ask for recommendations from friends, classmates, librarians or family members..

Take the time to demonstrate and model each of these selection processes.

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