I don’t like gift giving guides. I actually don’t find gift giving guides helpful. I still find myself looking at them, however, only to get annoyed at the lack of creativity. Another universal charger…really? An iPad? How uncreative. Well, get ready for a gift giving guide that is truly helpful and needed.
The holidays often involve spoiling and spending. While you are spoiling others and spending money, remember to bring literacy in to the lives of the little ones around you. Since picking out books is hard, I have created a guide specific to different groups of readers.
I am mostly linking to Bookworm.com. I have no affiliation with this site, but love it because books are categorized by age level, and then further broken down by subject.
Pre-emergent reader (toddlers and pre-K) – Richard Scarry books are the ideal gift. These wonderful word to picture books are perfect for the toddler and 3-4 year old who is exploring vocabulary and name recognition.
Emergent Reader (pre-K to K) – at this level children are really beginning to comprehend, so picture books have a lot of meaning to them. Children get immersed in the pictures and engulfed in the story. Read the picture book before you buy it. MANY picture books are written at a higher level, so making sure a picture book is not going to be over the head of a 4 – 6 year old is important. Here is a list of some of my favorite picture books, perfect for this age child.
Early Reader (K- grade 2) – For the kindergartener, BOB Books are a great step into independent reading. They come at different levels and although they are not the most interesting stories (what story can be interesting when they are written with only one syllable words?), they will build confidence and help a budding reader decode on their own. The illustrations are simple, but they depict what is written to help a hesitant reader.
For the first and second grader, the Little Critter books are awesome.
Early readers are also interested in short chapter books, which are read to them. The transitional reader suggestion can also apply.
Transitional Reader (grade 2-3 ) – The transitional reader is diving into reading, however, sometimes with hesitation (read about helping reluctant readers here). A great way to encourage a transitional reader’s love of literacy is to introduce them to a series that they like. This post on series explains that series are consistent and comfortable. Try giving a transitional reader a buffet of books. Pick the first book from many different series.
In the above photo, these books are all at roughly the same level. You can use this document to help you choose the series. When you do this for younger readers, such as reader in first grade, know that the books will be read to them. This is great exposure to chapter books, and once they are in 2nd and 3rd grade they will discover that they can read these books by themselves, seeing them in a whole different light.
To summarize, providing a child with a book buffet that can be read to them or that they can read independently introduces them to different series that they can pursue further.
Fluent Reader ( grade 3 – 4) – It’s a common misunderstanding that fluent readers can handle anything. Once kids are reading well parents will run out and buy them The Hunger Games, Chronicles of Narnia, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. PLEASE be careful. These books are above the heads of many fluent readers, and we must remember that comprehension is still our main goal. Find out your fluent reader’s level and provide them with materials that are just right for them. Use the scholastic book wizard. While Charlotte’s Web, Bunnicula, The Chocolate Touch, Babe, and Because of Winn Dixie are my favorite third and fourth grade chapter books, there are so many other wonderful ones out there.