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Never Too Young for Nonfiction

baby wearing glasses propped up on arms on an open book, surrounded by illustrations of plants and an octopus

Tap into the benefits of reading nonfiction with young children.

By Jane Girondo, Early Literacy Assistant

Extend Natural Curiosity

Reading nonfiction with preschoolers may sound daunting, but it’s really a natural extension of their curiosity about the world around them. For some children who are not intrigued by fictional stories, nonfiction might turn a reluctant reader into an enthusiastic one.

When selecting your nonfiction reads, follow your child’s lead and look for books on subjects that interest them. For help identifying engaging and age-appropriate options, ask the librarians at your local branch or on our Ask Your Library online or text chat service — they’re a great resource for the latest nonfiction books written for preschoolers.

Simplify for Full Effect

Dispense with the notion that you must read every word, in order, in a nonfiction book. The beauty of the genre comes from looking at the vibrant pictures that interest your child. While doing so, you can read some or all of the included text or just discuss what you see. This demonstrates to young readers that a nonfiction book is a great place to find information. 

Make Connections

Amplify the impact of nonfiction reading by pointing out to your child connections between what you read and what you see out in the world. Plan a trip to a construction site, zoo or museum to further explore a subject and provide opportunities to experience those connections. 

A World of Benefits

The many benefits of reading of nonfiction include expanding children’s background knowledge and vocabulary. These early literacy skills will help support reading comprehension once children learn to read, because the terms and subject matter will be familiar to them. 

Family Reading Partnership Program Coordinator Melissa Perry explains another benefit in her article for Ithaca Journal: “Having early experiences with informational text gives children the opportunity to practice gleaning facts, statistics, instructions and other pertinent information from text, diagrams, charts, and photographs. This is a skill used in daily life. Whether following a recipe, deciphering a bus schedule, or reading a formal contract, the ability to sift out necessary details is required to be successful.” 

Embrace the nonfiction genre! Incorporate it into your child’s early literacy experience to help them learn important skills while having fun and exploring real-world topics that inspire them.

Nonfiction Picks to Spark Curiosity

  • The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell by Candace Fleming
  • Baby on the Way by William Sears, M.D.
  • Beware of the Crocodile by Martin Jenkins
  • Different? Same! by Heather Tekavec 
  • Dreaming Up by Christy Hale
  • Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak
  • Fantastic Flowers by Susan Stockdale
  • Light the Candle! Bang the Drum!: A Book of Holidays Around the World by Ann Morris
  • Little Shark by Anne Rockwell
  • On a Snow-melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring by Buffy Silverman
  • Skyscraper by Jorey Hurley
  • Stay Healthy with Sesame Street: Understanding Coronavirus by Mary Lindeen
  • The Tiny Giant by Barbara Ciletti
  • The Truth About Bears by Maxwell Eaton III
  • What Do They Do with All That Poo? by Jane Kurtz
  • Little People, Big Dreams Series: Kid-friendly biographies of famous people
  • Rookie Read About Series: Simple and fun presentations of science, mathematics, health, weather and more.

Search for these titles in the FCPL catalog.

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