Here are introductory reading lists on designing reading materials for children. They cover legibility and typography, history, and designing for screen.
Legibility and typography
Watts, L. and Nisbet, J. (1974), Legibility in children’s books: a review of research. Slough: NFER Publishing Company Limited
Lund, O. (1999), Knowledge construction in typography: the case of legibility research and the legibility of sans serif typefaces. Unpublished PhD thesis, Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, The University of Reading.
Zachrisson, B. (1965), Studies in the legibility of printed text. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wicksell
Raban, B. (1982), 'Text display effects on the fluency of young readers.', Journal of Reading Research, vol 5, no. 1, pp.7-28
Sassoon, R. (1993) 'Through the eyes of a child - perception and type design'. In R. Sassoon (ed), Computers and typography. Oxford: Intellect Books
Heller, S. (1995), 'Type play for kids.', Eye,vol.5, no. 19, pp.44-53
Walker, S. (1992). How it looks: a teacher’s guide to typography in children’s books. Reading: Reading and Language Information Centre and Department of Typography & Graphic Communication.
Edwards. V. and Walker, S. (1995), Building bridges: multilingual resources for children. Clevedon: Avon: Multilingual Matters
Walker, S., Edwards, V. and Blacksell, R. (1996), 'Designing bilingual books for children.', Visible Language, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 268-83
There is no comprehensive historical survey of typographic practice in children’s readers. Ian Michael’s The teaching of English - from the sixteenth century to 1870 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) is essential contextual reading, and it provides a comprehensive bibliography. R.L. Venezky ‘The history of reading research’. In D. Pearson, R. Barr, M.L. Kamil and P. Mosenthal, Handbook of Reading Research, 1, London:Longman, pp. 3-38, provides a good overview of work that has contributed to research about reading.
The following are helpful in getting a picture of some of the material being produced in the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth centuries:
Mason, J.H. (1913) 'The printing of children’s books.' ,The Imprint, no. 2, pp. 87-94
Morss, R.D. (1935) 'The neglected school book.', Monotype Recorder, vol. 34, no.2
Warde, B. (1950) 'Improving the compulsory book.', The Penrose Annual, vol 44, pp.37-40