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Are Custom Books More Effective Than Usual Books for Children?Introduction

A 4-year-old girl with light brown hair tied in pigtails sits on a cozy chair in a brightly lit room, excitedly reading a book. The book features her photo on the cover and pages with her photos, stories about her life, and colorful childish drawings. She is smiling with wide eyes, clearly thrilled and engaged. The room is warmly decorated with colorful decorations, stuffed animals, and a bookshelf filled with children's books
custom books for children


The debate between the effectiveness of custom books versus usual (traditional) books for children has gained attention as educators and parents seek the best methods to foster literacy and cognitive development in young readers. Custom books, tailored to a child's specific interests and experiences, offer unique advantages, but how do they compare to traditional books?

Benefits of Custom Books

  1. Personalization and Engagement: Custom books are designed to include elements that resonate directly with the child, such as their name, favorite activities, or family members. This personalization can significantly increase a child’s interest and engagement in reading. Studies suggest that when children see themselves reflected in stories, their motivation to read and their connection to the material improves markedly​ (MDPI)​.

  2. Enhanced Comprehension and Retention: Personalized content can make complex concepts more relatable and easier to understand. By tailoring stories to align with a child’s life experiences, custom books can enhance comprehension and retention of information​ (BioMed Central)​.

  3. Positive Reading Identity: Custom books can help develop a positive reading identity. When children enjoy the reading experience and see themselves as protagonists in their stories, they are more likely to develop a lifelong love for reading. This positive association is crucial in encouraging early literacy​ (MDPI)​.

Benefits of Usual Books

  1. Broad Exposure to Diverse Ideas: Traditional books offer children a wide array of experiences and perspectives that might be outside their immediate environment. This exposure to diverse ideas and cultures can broaden a child’s understanding and empathy​ (Mental Floss)​.

  2. Proven Educational Value: Numerous studies have highlighted the educational benefits of traditional books. Reading print books, for instance, has been shown to improve comprehension and retention better than digital formats due to the tactile experience and the ability to physically track progress through the pages​ (Mental Floss)​​ (The Hechinger Report)​.

  3. Joint Attention and Social Interaction: Reading traditional books often involves shared reading sessions with parents or teachers, fostering joint attention and enhancing social interaction. This shared reading experience is critical for language development and bonding​ (BioMed Central)​.

Custom Books vs. Usual Books: Which is Better?

While both custom and usual books have their distinct advantages, the choice between them depends on the context and the specific needs of the child. Custom books can be particularly effective for reluctant readers or those who need a more personalized approach to engage with reading. They make the reading experience more personal and enjoyable, which can be a key factor in developing early literacy skills and a love for reading.

On the other hand, usual books provide a broad and diverse range of experiences and educational content that is essential for comprehensive cognitive and emotional development. They also encourage social interaction through shared reading experiences, which is beneficial for language development and social skills.


Both custom and usual books play vital roles in children's literacy and development. Custom books offer personalized engagement and can be a great tool for motivating young readers, while usual books provide essential exposure to a wide range of ideas and social interactions. A balanced approach that includes both types of books might be the most beneficial for children, combining the personalized appeal of custom books with the educational depth of traditional literature.


  1. Niland, Amanda. "Picture Books, Imagination and Play: Pathways to Positive Reading Identities for Young Children." Education Sciences, 2023.

  2. "7 Scientific Benefits of Reading Printed Books." Mental Floss, 2018.

  3. Barshay, Jill. "Evidence increases for reading on paper instead of screens." The Hechinger Report, 2020.

  4. "Is book reading always best? Children learn and transfer complex scientific explanations from books or animations." Evolution: Education and Outreach, 2020.


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