What Books Are the Right Level for My Kids?

What Books Are the Right Level for My Kids?

When you’re shopping Wordplay Kids' Books, you might notice that we don’t categorize our kids' books by age. If you buy literature for children frequently, this might jump out to you as being different or odd. 

Instead, we categorize our books as either Read Aloud Stories, Emerging Readers, or Independent Readers. (More on what those levels mean below.) 

Here’s our philosophy on age-based classification. Every child is different. Every kid’s journey as a reader looks very different. Some of our littlest customers are precocious, learning to read independently well before kindergarten. Others work extremely hard to learn to read and don’t pick it up as easily, but they consistently gain new skills and learn to love books as they bloom as readers. 

The journey to becoming a reader is a deeply personal one. Our society tends to group kids together by age for almost everything, but we don’t believe reading should be one of those things. There are plenty of eight-year-olds just getting comfortable with phonics and lots of four-year-olds reading on their own. We are not here to judge anyone, rush anyone, or making anyone feel inadequate or like they don’t fit in.

So, rather than classify our books as 0-2, 2-4, 5-7, and so on, we use different categories that speak to what the books have to offer, rather than what the child should or shouldn’t be capable of. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect from books in each category: 

Read Aloud Stories

These are board books, picture books, or unique, beautiful stories that we think lend themselves perfectly to being read aloud. The concepts in these books are simpler, the stories are definitely G-rated, and concepts like sharing, being kind, and good manners show up frequently. 

These books are great tools to help parents and caregivers introduce important life lessons to little ones. If you’re looking for something to enjoy with your kids, no matter their age, these are the books for you. 

Emerging Readers

If the kids you’re shopping for know the alphabet and have a basic grasp on phonics, they may be ready for our Emerging Readers collection. Emerging Readers may be a good fit for children who need occasional help sounding out a word or understanding concepts.

This group includes books that can be read aloud to newer readers, but it also includes more traditional “Easy Readers” and simpler chapter books. Here, we also get into history, math, science, music, and other more academic concepts that kids who have the hang of reading may wish to explore. 

Independent Readers

Shopping for kids who can pick up a book and read it on their own without much, if any help? Check out our Independent Readers section. These books explore higher-level concepts in more depth, use bigger words, and have longer, more complicated narratives.

You may want to read these books first to ensure the material is something you’re comfortable with your child reading, especially if they’re a younger reader ready for harder books. We don’t sell anything PG-13-rated, but the emotional themes of books like these may not be appropriate for all readers.

Still love story time? Independent Readers can of course be read aloud. Some of our customers love reading together with their kids of all ages at bedtime or on long car trips. Reading aloud a chapter or two each day can be a wonderful way for families to spend time together.

Not sure which books are right for your little ones? Have questions about a specific book in our store? Don’t hesitate to contact us! We are happy to learn a bit more about your reader and offer some recommendations! Happy reading!

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