Choosing Kids Books at the Bailey Library
Book publishers organize books based on different reading level concepts, such as text difficulty, curriculum standards, and reading comprehension. Since there is no universal reading level or ratings standard for books, the Bailey Library organizes books based on age groups. Our general age groupings within the library are: Board Books (pre-readers), Picture Books (pre-readers to 1st grade), Chapter Books (1st-4th grade), Juvenile Fiction (3rd-7th grade), and Teen Books (7th-12th grade). Many children will enjoy and read books from more than one age group, and oftentimes your child can tell within the first few pages if there is too much text or if the words are too big. The most important thing is to get kids hooked on reading by choosing books that will keep your child’s interest.
Library Terms Demystified:
- Board Books are intended for pre-readers and are printed and bound directly on thick paperboard and are designed to withstand the bending and attempted tearing that babies and toddlers love to make part of their early reading experience. The content ranges from basic concepts to simple stories. The Bailey Library has a small but vibrant collection of Board Books kept in the Mullen Play Room on the east side of the Children’s Wing.
- Picture Books are mainly designed for pre-readers through 1st grade. Picture books are typically 32 pages long with illustrations that are integral to the story. These are often meant to be read aloud while the listener pores over the pictures. While most picture books are written for younger children, in recent years a number of excellent picture books for upper elementary and even middle school readers have been published. It is recommended to begin sharing picture books with your children when they are babies and continue to share them with your kids as they get older. Learning to “read pictures” is an important literacy skill and picture books can play an important part in a child’s becoming visually literate. The Bailey Library collection of Picture Books are kept both in and just outside the Mullen Play Room on the east side of the Children’s Wing.
- Chapter Books are designed for young readers (1st-4th grade) ready to move from picture books into children novels. Characterized by having slightly larger print, more pictures and shorter chapters than books for older readers. Unlike picture books, a chapter book tells the story primarily through prose, but still contain plentiful illustrations. The Bailey Library collection of Chapter Books are kept in the WAFCU Fireplace Room on the north side of the Children’s Wing.
- Juvenile Fiction is written for 3rd to 7th graders, and is a collection of novels for children. The juvenile book genre is made up of books with a variety of themes and plots that appeal to a young reading audience. Juvenile Fiction has less illustrations than Chapter Books, and less provocative/edgy subject matter than Teen/YA books. The age of the reader is often determined by the age of the main character, and the plot conflicts and character issues are relevant to the age of the main character. Note: The main difference between juvenile fiction and teen fiction is subject matter, not reading difficulty. The Bailey Library Juvenile Fiction collection is kept in the main circulation area on the south side of the Children’s Wing.
- Teen Fiction is designed for 7th to 12th graders, and is also known as YA Fiction. Teen Books are an extension of Juvenile Fiction, but rarely contain illustrations (other than graphic novels). The main difference between juvenile fiction and teen fiction is subject matter, not reading difficulty. Note: Some parents who find the subject matter in teen books inappropriate for middle school children can rest assured that the reading difficulty found in Juvenile Books is adequate, even for advanced readers. The Bailey Library collection of teen books are kept in the Dick Family Teen Area, which is located on the west side of the Locashio Adult Wing.
- Graphic Novels range in reading difficulty from 2nd and 3rd graders all the way to 12th grade and adults. Graphic Novels are books made up of comics. Is your child a reluctant or struggling reader? All children can be raised to love reading if they love what they are reading, and graphic novels are a great way to hook even the most reluctant of readers. These books often have the same high quality prose and language used in Chapter and Juvenile Books, but with a comic strip layout. Not all comics are about superheroes, and few graphic novels in our collection include “graphic” story lines. Did you know that there’s a Pride and Prejudice graphic novel at the library? Or that the popular Shakespeare play Macbeth has been adapted into a graphic novel? Bring your children by the library to browse our graphic novel collections! The Bailey Library has two collections of graphic novels: our elementary and middle grade graphic novels are kept in the WAFCU Fire Place Room on the north side of the Children’s Wing, while our Teen graphic novels are kept in the Dick Family Teen Area.
- Easy Readers are intended for 1st to 4th graders who are ready to move from picture books, but struggling with Chapter Books. The font is clear and readable, so the eye easily knows where to go next, and the vocabulary is limited to sight words or words that can be easily decoded using the rules of phonics. Sentences tend to be simple and do not extend over a page turn. This collection is kept just outside the Mullen Play Room.
- Juvenile Nonfiction & Biographies are designed for pre-readers all the way through pre-teens. Be sure to flip through these books to gauge difficulty, and let your child pick out subjects that sound interesting. This collection includes fairy tales, folklore & poetry. This collection is kept in the WAFCU Fire Place Room on the north side of the Children’s Wing.
- Juvenile Magazines are designed for toddlers through pre-teens. Magazines are a great way to get reluctant readers on board! Subjects range from nature to popular culture to sports and humor. This collection is kept in the WAFCU Fire Place Room on the north side of the Children’s Wing.
- Kids & Teen Audiobooks are another good alternative for reluctant readers. These titles usually mirror titles found within the juvenile fiction, juvenile nonfiction and some teen sections. Kids Audiobooks are kept in the WAFCU Fire Place Room on the north side of the Children’s Wing, while Teen Audiobooks are kept in the Dick Family Teen Area.