Types of stories for children

Written by chasity goddard
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Types of stories for children
Offering different types of stories increases critical thinking abilities in children. (back to school image by Renata Osinska from Fotolia.com)

Like adult literature, children’s stories can also be divided into several genres, or categories. Children benefit most when stories from multiple categories are offered instead of just one. Folklore and fairy tales are staples in most children’s libraries, but history, biography, and science books are equally important. Exposing children to a variety of types of stories and literary techniques increases critical thinking abilities and comprehension, and helps them to create more complicated compositions of their own.

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Picture Books

Picture books are important for younger children. This type of book tells the story through pictures more than words, and may have no words at all. Younger children benefit from the additional stimulation the vivid, colourful pictures provide while they listen to the story. Picture books introduce a child to the world of literature in a way that is interesting and easily accessible for them.

Types of stories for children
Picture book (Kraig Scarbinsky/Digital Vision/Getty Images)


Composed of many subcategories, fiction takes many forms. Folklore, fairy tales, myths, legends, fables, realistic fiction, and fantasy are all types of fiction. Fiction is a story that is untrue, unproven, or exaggerated. Some fiction, like folklore and fables, are told in an attempt to explain abstract ideas in a concrete way by relating the intangible or unknown to things that are known and understood. These stories often offer a moral lesson. Other types of fiction, such as fairy tales and fantasy, are the most imaginary and force the child to accept impossibilities within the context of the story. These stories spark creativity, open the mind, and allow the child to explore in a way only possible through fiction. Legends and realistic fiction are often the most difficult for children. Legends are based on real or historical events, and distinguishing the fact from fiction can sometimes be difficult. Likewise, realistic fiction is a story that reads as if it could be true, so exposing a child to nonfiction is important in helping the child make the distinction.

Types of stories for children
Teacher reading to students (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)


Nonfiction is a story that is true like history, biography, autobiography, narrative, and science. The purpose of nonfiction is to increase the reader’s understanding of the subject. Often the challenge of nonfiction is finding a book on a subject that sparks the interest of the child that is also appropriate for that child’s reading level. Introducing a child early to interesting nonfiction shows the child that learning can be enjoyable and is not confined to a school atmosphere. Nonfiction can also inspire an unmotivated early reader when fiction has failed to capture that child’s imagination.

Types of stories for children
Find interesting nonfiction books. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Nursery Rhymes and Poetry

Recognising rhyming words helps small children learn to distinguish phonetic sound. According to K-3 Teacher Resources, “research highlights phonemic awareness as a strong predictor of a child’s reading success.” A phoneme is the smallest component of sound in language and recognition of the individual sounds that produce a word is the first step toward reading and writing. Nursery rhymes and poetry allow children to explore phonemes and offer the opportunity to recognise how changing a single letter, or sound, changes the word.

Types of stories for children
Nursery rhymes (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

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