Books to support children's learning and development

Introducing children to books is the most precious gift you can give them. Reading will not only bring them pleasure, but will enlarge their sense of the world. However, prior to this experience, children will have to first learn to read and this learning should begin as early as possible and in the comfort of their home.

How do you help children to read and develop love of books? Well, the answer lies in 'how you select' a suitable book for your child and the 'type of support' you offer them during reading. Of course, the title and contents of the book are at the forefront when selecting a book, but there are host of other factors that need to be considered which centres around the child. See below for more details:

  • Age appropriate - Babies under one year old rely on their senses to make sense of the world, so books with pictures are ideal as they are visually stimulating and can provide open-ended stories.

    Consider the size and the material of the book too; small books made from fabrics are suitable as they are softer and easy for babies to handle.

    For toddlers, learning to read can begin by giving them exposure to visual letters and single words. Select books that have alphabets or simple words alongside the pictures. Board books with ample pictures and words like "hello" or "cat" are suitable for toddlers.

  • The older children will enjoy reading books that have more words or sentences which are accompanied by pictures too.

  • Font size & colour - To make reading easy on the eyes of small children, the printed words should be in large fonts, bold and in black ink. There should be big spaces between the lines and words, which will encourage child to gradually acquire some fluency in reading.

  • Size & weight of the books - Books should be in reach of children at all times, storing them in low shelves will give them easy access to the books. Children's muscles in their hands and fingers are still developing, so the books should be light in weight and of a decent size so that children can carry them around the house or take it with them in the car. Short story books with no more than 10 pages are ideal, as it's not heavy.

  • Visual stimulation - Find books that have shatterproof mirrors as children relish looking at their image in the mirror. Children are attracted to things that sparkle, so choose books that have shiny and glitterly images along with colourful illustrations and cartoon pictures.

  • Mental stimulation - To help children acquire language and enlarge their vocabulary, select books that encourage learning as well as enjoyment of reading. Books with numbers, alphabets, shapes and colours are perfect way to start; through these books children learn to count, read alphabets, recognise shapes and identify colours.

    As the child's level or ability of reading increases, introduce books that encourage and challenge their thinking, such as classifying and sequencing objects in the book. These types of book will promote cognitive development and heighten their stimulation.

  • Interactive - Give children a tactile experience; they love to feel and touch, so books with lift-up flaps and pop-ups will allow children to be explorative, sustain their interest and strengthen the muscles in their hands and fingers. Some books have electronic sounds incorporated which children love and will learn to identify some sounds that relate to real life, for example: dogs barking, birds singing, or bells ringing. Interactive books.

  • Interest - Choose books that centre around your child's interest, likes and preferences. Most children share a common interest in books about animals, especially animals that talk in the book; stories about princesses, heros and even monsters are some of their favourites as well as books about families.

  • Intonation - Choose books that encourage reader to make sounds. Reading in high or low pitched voice or making silly noises keep children entertained. Children love to imitate which can help to produce speech for language development.

  • Repetition, rhythms and rhymes - children love to hear stories that tell words over and over again. Hearing, seeing and reading the same words repeatedly helps to consolidate learning. It's such a fun way of learning new vocabulary too.

  • Nursery rhymes are the perfect reading books for children as they have words that rhymes and there is also rhythm between the sentences which children enjoy. Listening and reading nursery rhymes is great fun and an effective way of acquiring language. Nursery rhymes.

  • Educational stories - Read stories that relate to everyday life, such as daily rountines including: potty training, bath-time, bed-time and going to school. This will help them to make sense of their experience or connect them to their existing experience.

  • Stories that help children to identify there body parts are a favourite amongst children. Using fingers to count, or using nursery rhymes to point to head or stomach is really entertaining and educational at the same time. Daily living

  • Traditional stories are a classic; children will enjoy reading or being read to these timeless stories that are indeed memorable for years to come. Consider your child's interest when selecting classic stories.

  • Feelings - Stories about feelings of sadness, happiness and fear can help children understand their own feelings and might encourage them to talk about it. When children are feeling low, read stories that make them happy or lift their spirits or puts them in a good mood.
  • Emotions

  • Humour - Children love to laugh, they relish jokes and funny stories. There are some comedy books out there to keep children amused. Humour

Interactive books


Touch Think Learn-Numbers-Xavier-Deneux















Daily living




Nursery rhymes