I'll admit I got the idea for this post from this blog entry on Capstone Connect -- and not just because the article links to a book set I was involved with for them. ;) It happened to coincide with a conversation I recently had with my local children's librarian about books for kids.
A friend of hers runs a bookstore--and recently related a story about a young woman with a toddler bypassing a beautiful picture book (it might have been an Eric Carle, but I don't remember that detail) because she didn't want to "talk down" to the child.
As a lover of all things books, and in particular really cool picture books, this horrifies me. For a child to miss the wonders of picture books--Jan Brett, Eric Carle, Richard Scarry, Dr. Seuss. Oh My!
My daughter still reads picture books because she loves the pictures. And, excuse me, the words in most picture books are geared to a parent's vocabulary NOT the toddler's. They are designed to be enjoyed together. Like art. Or poetry. Or music.
That's actually beside the point, though. If your middle grade boy will only read graphic novels, let him. If your teenage girl only reads paranormal romance, so be it. THEY ARE READING. Hey, if your toddler WANTS to read a chapter book--go for it! It's okay to suggest the books that you loved as a child, or books you've read good reviews for on Goodreads. Don't skimp on the good stuff. But if they'd rather read something you consider beneath them--it's okay. Studies show that if they read what they want, test scores will follow (see link above for source).
My daughter also enjoys reading riddles out of Highlights. In the car. Where we can't get away. But she loves them.
What do your kids like to read?