LITERATURE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN AND GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR CHOOSING CHILDREN'S BOOKS
As your child’s first teacher, you have the greatest influence on the development of your child’s interest in books and reading. When your child observes you reading, he or she absorbs a respect for literature and literacy. When you read aloud to your child, you share in the pleasure and joy that human communication brings. That joy stimulates interest in cultural literacy in addition to an appreciation of beauty. When choosing books for your children remember to first read the book yourself. Observe content, grammar, vocabulary, usage of language, and artistic presentation.
When choosing books for children under six years of age, Dr. Montessori recommended realistic stories. Toddler and Primary children are trying to understand their world and cannot differentiate between reality and fantasy. Non-violent stories about real people and real animals and their everyday activities will help children develop an understanding of the world. For this reason, we recommend not showing your child movies or videos at this age. Few of these are developmentally appropriate, regardless of the parental advisory ratings.
An understanding of the difference between fantasy and reality develops as the child moves into the elementary level. This is the time that myths, fairy-tales and fables are appropriate to introduce for the exploration of ethics and moral questions. The elementary child is interested in the world and universe and has an innate desire to learn about biology, botany and all the earth sciences as well as history and culture.