In planning a writing project, one of the first things that you need to do is figure out who you are writing for. You’ll need to understand what their interests are, what level of reading they’re at, their reading ability. Children are constantly changing, learning, and growing physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Jean Piaget, is one of the main specialists in child development. As a child psychologist, he identified four stages of mental growth in children:
1. Sensorimotor Stage: (Birth to 2 Years) = Baby and Toddler Books
*at this level, the child’s primary concern is with gaining motor control and learning about physical objects.
2. Preoperational Stage: (Ages 2 to 7) = Picture Books
*at this level, the child is preoccupied with the development of verbal skill including the naming of objects. They reason intuitively. Intuition is the ability to know something by immediately recognizing what it is, without having to think about it.
3. Concrete Operational Stage: (Ages 7 to 12) = Easy Readers, Chapter Books, Middle-Age Fiction and Nonfiction.
*at this level, the child begins to deal with abstract concepts, such as numbers and relationships.
4. Formal Operational Stage: (Ages 12 to 15) = Teenage/Young Adult Fiction and Nonfiction.
*at this level, the child begins to reason logically and systematically.
Readers fall within these categories: age, developmental, and reading-level groups. Your characters and plots must reflect the curiosities of the group for whom you are writing.