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Books. Books. And more books. If you walk into our home, that’s what you’ll find. I’ve been collecting children’s books since my first year as a teacher, so our home is exploding with books. I was subscribed to a mail-in Book-of-the-Month-Club (remember those?) Books arrived at my door on a monthly basis, and I couldn’t return them once they were in my hands.
While books are fantastic, some books are better than others. In this article, I share just what those are and why.
Why some books may be a challenge for neurodivergent and disabled children
- Children who like to mouth things may also be tempted to chew a book making it a choking hazard.
- Books with paper pages are difficult to manipulate for children who require fine motor support.
- Some children may have zero interest in books, not because they can’t read.
- Children with shorter attention spans may not stick with a book for very long.
Suggestions for books
- Fabric and loop and hook books. For the chewer and the biter, use fabric books. Make them yourself if you are creative.
- Musical books. Musical books like the one in the image below, are often quite sturdy. My son took to this book early because he could finally turn some pages himself. e still loves to flip through this one.
- Interactive books. Interactive books are great for practicing using the pointer finger. Children usually stick with interactive books for longer than other books, so it’s an excellent place to start with some children.
- Board books. Since board books are thick and sturdy, get your hands on these. Find board books with tabs for easy page-turning!
- Flip and pop-up books. Flip and pop-up books are often board books, too. They add an extra element of interest and often appeal to children who don’t easily take an interest in books. You don’t have to read these books. Use them as motivation!
- Textured books. What a great way to get those sensory sensitive children to interact with different textures! Do it through books!
- Picture books. These are paperback books with glorious images. I recommend beginning with repetitive or predictable books (ex: The Three Little Pigs, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear) as well as with cumulative books (ex: I Know an Old Lady, and Henny Penny). It not only piques their interest, but it helps children engage with the story because they know what will come next. Here is a list of types of picture books you can begin collecting and why:
- Repetitive/predictable – engages the child
- Cumulative – engages the child
- Wordless – allows child or adult to create the story
- Traditional (fairytales, fables, folktales, myths and legends) – great for storytelling without the books!
- Rhymes and poetry– help with language building
- Alphabet and number books. Great for children who are ready to learn their letters and numbers.
- Informational books. The realistic images are usually stunning, even if the book is too advanced for the child.
- Themed books. Use as supplements to educational units
- Big books. Oversized books pique a child’s interest and make story-sharing fun!
- Chapter books. Use chapter books for children who are at this reading level. If they are below the reading level, but have the attention span, read aloud to your child. Collect fiction as well as non-fiction.
- Graphic novels. For children who are struggling readers, take a look at graphic novels. The illustrations and shorter texts make reading appealing.
- Audiobooks. I have a personal love affair with audiobooks and podcasts myself. It allows me to multitask while enjoying a good book. Not only are they affordable, but they can be transported and listened to repeatedly. Great for kids who need reading support.
- Online books. Don’t forget that you can interact with books through a computer or tablet! Some kids love that they can more easily control books this way, but also that the books can be read to them even when the adults are tired!