Watching your child fall in love with the world of books is one of life’s great joys. But for some parents the temptation to select their children’s reading choices is far too great to ignore.
It makes perfect sense, you want your child to be a voracious reader and so – with the best intentions – you guide them in a direction that you think will benefit them the most.
Unfortunately, this behaviour can have the opposite effect and by dictating your child’s taste, you can in fact be turning them off reading altogether.
Instead of rushing to make sure your littles one are reading the “right” books, here are three reasons why kids need to find what’s right for them.
1. It Helps to Foster a Genuine Interest in Reading
From the minute they’re born, kids are developing reading habits that will stay with them forever. In fact, award winning author, literary professor and all round expert, Mem Fox, believes reading to children from birth can help develop a love for and understanding of books.
But reading and engaging are not the same thing and in order to practice reading, kids need to enjoy it. Once kids are old enough to decide what they like, it pays to follow their directions. If a reader is genuinely invested in the story, their level of engagement will be higher. This will then result in a more capable, confident and self-sufficient reader. So while you may want to force feed the classics, its better in the long run to listen to your little one and resist the urge to impose book choices. Celebrate book diversity instead.
2. It Encourages Kids to Read for Pleasure
As to be expected a large portion of a child’s reading education is centred around school. Home readers are typically dictated by the curriculum or teachers, leaving little room for choice. But, as with most things ‘school related’, kids associate that style of learning as being “boring.” This can be the catalyst for kids seeing reading as an obligation and a chore.
According the 2015 Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report, more than half of children aged 6–17 believe reading books for fun is very important. So it’s even more essential that when reading at home, kids are able to exercise choice. If they feel like they’re being pushed towards another pre-approved option, their resentment reflex will kick in and its game over. Instead allow them the luxury of choice and watch their interest in books sky rocket!
3. It’s a Way for Kids to Explore Beyond the Screen
The Scholastic study shows that 75% of parents wish their child would do more activities away from a screen. But with so many options battling for your child’s attention, how do you get books back in the mix?
Firstly, allowing more autonomy over their reading habits is guaranteed to get them on side. Try visiting a bookstore and letting your little learner find their favourite genre. Then set a reading challenge to see how many books they can get through in month. Another top trick is to mix books and the box office. There are so many films adapting famous novels, encourage your kids to read the book before watching the movie.