by Dr. Carolyn James, Executive Learning Designer for LeapFrog

March is National Reading Month, and what better way to celebrate than to embrace reading with your child? Stepping into the children’s book section to choose a new title can be overwhelming, but research shows that creating a steady stream of new, age-appropriate books can nearly triple interest in reading within months.1 Here are some different types of books to look for to help build a well-rounded library:

Rhyming Books

Rhyming books can help children learn about the sounds of language and build phonological awareness, which is the ability to recognize and manipulate the sounds in spoken words. This skill is strongly related to later reading achievement. When you read rhyming books together, your child is building sensitivity to the sounds that make up our language.

Narrative Storybooks

Storybooks help children learn how stories are put together, including characters; a setting; and a sequence of events that creates a beginning, middle, and end. As children start to recognize this, they can begin to comprehend new stories. Encourage your child to summarize the stories you read, and then help them spin their own tales.

Informational Books

When children recognize that they can learn from reading, it gives them an outlet to follow their natural curiosity. Non-fiction books that include facts and fresh information can help children learn new vocabulary words and ask inquisitive questions about the world around them.

Pattern Books

Text is predictable in pattern books because they use rhyme, repetition, and refrains. They help children make predictions about words, phrases, events, and characters that could come next in the book. As you read with your child, take opportunities to pause and let them predict what comes next.

As you discover what kind of books your child likes, you can begin to focus on building important skills and challenging them to get ready for the next step in learning. And, you can also incorporate educational toys such as the LeapStart Interactive Learning System from LeapFrog into your child’s daily routine as a fun way to help them learn to count, read, build problem-solving skills, and more through replayable activities, providing them the perfect balance of core and life skills. The LeapStart library of more than 25 books covers more than 50 key skills for kids ages 2 to 7, and two Learn to Read book sets are dedicated to guiding children as they begin their journey to reading on their own.

Introducing children to a variety of books is incredibly beneficial and can have a tremendous impact on their future reading success, so make the most of family reading time and snuggle up with a good book.

1Harris, Louis. An Assessment of the Impact of First Book’s Northeast Program. January 2003.


As the literacy development expert on LeapFrog’s Learning Team, Dr. Carolyn James ensures that the curricular design in LeapFrog products is grounded in the latest educational research. Before joining LeapFrog, Dr. James was a reading professor at Sacramento State University, a curriculum developer for the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, and a teacher in the San Francisco bay area. She earned her doctorate in educational psychology at Michigan State University.