Choosing age-appropriate books can sometimes feel like navigating a maze, especially when you’re juggling the demands of a busy schedule. As a former elementary school teacher turned book enthusiast for busy moms, I’ve got your back. Let’s break it down in a way that resonates with our shared experiences.

A guide to age-appropriate books: unraveling the bookshelf dilemma from The Miraculous Journey of Books at Image of kid flipping through a large book. Wearing a grey sweater and torn jeans. Sitting on a couch.

Know Your Child’s Interests

One of my favorite things about being in the classroom was when I saw a spark in a child’s eye. You can recreate that at home. Whether it’s dinosaurs, princesses, or outer space, understanding your child’s interests is the first step to finding the perfect book.

Consider Reading Level

Just like teachers tailor lessons to our students, considering reading levels is important. No one likes the frustration of a book that’s too difficult or the boredom of one that’s too easy. Aim for that sweet spot where your child can read comfortably with just a bit of a challenge.

However, if your child wants to read a book that isn’t exactly on their level, that’s okay! Sometimes I’m in the mood for a “beach read” and the book police have yet to stop me from reading one. Also, the National Council of Teachers of English shares that โ€œStudent choice in text is essential because it motivates, engages, and reaches a wide variety of readers.โ€

Follow these tips from my blog post on Choosing a ‘Good Fit’ Book for Your Child if your child is very excited about a book you think might be too challenging for them.

Check Reviews

In the hustle and bustle of life, who has time for trial and error? Dive into the online community of parents and teachers who share their thoughts on different books. It’s like having a book club at your fingertips. My go to websites are Goodreads and Common Sense Media.

Explore Series and Authors

Once you find a winner, stick with it. Kids often develop a connection with certain series or authors. It’s like having a reliable go-to in your teaching toolkit. In my opinion, the best way to help kids fall in love with books is to introduce them to a series. Be sure to read my 7 Reasons to Read Books in a Series post. It includes a list of my favorite series for grades K-8 and also tips for introducing book series to reluctant readers.

Visit Your Local Library

Remember the joy of a field trip? Extend that excitement to the library. Librarians are our unsung heroes, armed with the knowledge of the literary world. Plus, it’s a fun outing for the whole family.

We honestly have about 40 books checked out from the library at a time. They know us by name at our local library!

Ask for Recommendations

Now, here’s where I step in. As your personal book guru, I’m here to make your life easier. Share your child’s age and interests, and I’ll handpick a selection of age-appropriate books tailored just for them. It’s like having a virtual teacher’s assistant in your pocket.

Balance Entertainment and Education

Much like our approach in the classroom, find books that strike a balance between fun and learning. You’re not just choosing a book; you’re creating an experience.

Embrace the Journey

Parenthood is a journey, and so is your child’s reading adventure. Embrace the twists and turns, celebrate the victories, and don’t be too hard on yourself. The love for reading is the destination, and you’re on the right path.

So there you have it, a mom’s guide to choosing age-appropriate books. Let’s make book time not just a routine but a cherished moment of connection and discovery. If you need a personalized recommendation, just give me a shout โ€“ I’m here to make your bookshelf as exciting as a well-loved classroom library!