Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Let Kids Read What They Want

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?


Kelly said...

I totally agree. Kids can read assigned books from their teachers (and I like that because you want your kids to read certain books). But for fun, let them read what they want.
I endured many Pokemon chapter books with my son. I would have much rather read other books, but let them love what they read!

Jennifer Hillier said...

I don't have kids yet, but my mother used to let me read whatever I wanted. And thinking back on it now, I do believe that made reading fun for me, to know that I could make my own choices.

Great post!

Kris said...

Thanks Kelly and Jennifer! Sometimes the things they choose are cringe-worthy, but ultimately it's all good!

Laura Pauling said...

I for the most part let them read whatever they want. My son loves graphic novels but he knows he also needs to read non-graphic ones too. I think it's important to be well rounded. He reads a lot so he gets both kinds in. I did have to outlaw Captain Underpants because my kids started talking about inappropriate stuff.

Creepy Query Girl said...

I couldn't agree more- the important thing is they are reading! For the moment my little ones are too young to read on their own, but in the future, I plan to just let them have at it. After all, I know I did growing up:)

Kris said...

My 2nd grader does a lot of audio books. In fact, she was home sick for two days this week and the t.v. didn't go on once. We're listening to HP Order of the Phoenix. I've struggled with suggesting that she read some of the books she listens to, but she prefers to spend the afternoon doing a craft project and listening. So even when she's not reading, she's getting the literary experience. HP is fine, 'cause I could listen to Jim Dale all day, but it's annoying to have a book where the narrator isn't so good. :)

Thanks for commenting, Katie and Laura!

Amy Sue Nathan said...

My kids are "old" -- but my son only ever read what was assigned in school or something sports related. Don't forget that magazines and articles also constitute reading. Heck, there were times I was glad he read the back of the cereal box. He's 18 and in college. It all worked out.

My daughter is 15 and likes the "typical" YA stuff, she's a reader like her mom -- she can barely wait to get the final book of The Hunger Games trilogy as a holiday gift, and another present is a signed book from the WAKE series.

When it comes to kids and reading, more is better but anything is good.

Kris said...

I agree Amy! More is better but anything is good. Great quote!

Kate said...

Yeah for reading for fun. I say read what ever you want. And Kris, I approve of your daughters Jim Dale apperciation. I find housework much more enjoyable while listening to an audio book.

Gillia said...

I'm so glad you liked the post! I really believe in it, and I'm glad I'm not the only one.

Kris said...

Kate--yes, we love Jim Dale in my house.

Gillia--definitely! Thanks for stopping by!