Book choice can quite often make or break a child's reading experience. Adults can often identify if a book is not the right book for them quickly and move on to another book that they might better enjoy. As adults, opinions of reading itself are less likely to be influenced by an experience with a single book, but that is because adults have developed skills for finding the right book faster. Here are few key strategies for helping your child find the right book for them, so their experience of reading for enjoyment can be positive at an early age.
Read Aloud Together
Dr. Marilyn Jager Adams, noted author who has been recognized for her achievements in child psychology, particularly in the area of cognitive education explains, "Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read." Parents can serve a powerful role in inspiring their children to read by reading favorite books from their childhood out loud to them. Children pick up on the passion or love that their parents have for a book from their childhood or anything they are reading in the moment, and the interest coming from their voice can often be one of the most powerful components for a child's experience of that book. When helping your child to choose the right book, try using your best judgment to pick out what you think they would enjoy reading, then start them off or pique their interest by first reading it or part of it aloud to them.
Just Go With It
A famous American author and poet, Maya Angelou says, "Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him." When children are first learning to read, they may have very different interests than you would expect. The material they choose to read may seem unconventional, but the point of reading for enjoyment is for the practice of reading. So particularly in the early years, it is important to be less intrusive over the content of the material your children choose to read.
Make A Connection
In the words of American novelist, Joyce Carol Oates, "Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul." It is important for children to recognize how they relate to characters in a book. Parents can foster this relationship by pointing out similarities in personality traits, life circumstances, and more to their children about the characters in the books they choose to read. In this particular literary era, there is a plethora of characters to discover and get to know. Even the most unique child can find a relatable counterpart in literature.
Find the Right Level
In order to recognize that a child isn't reading a book that is an appropriate reading level, he will be unfamiliar with five or more words per page of the book. If a child is reading a book that is too difficult for his vocabulary level, but still wants to read the book try reading the book with the child so he does not get discouraged or confused. Sometimes however, despite understanding the vocabulary of the book, children may simply not connect with the story. In this case, allow the child to move on to a different book that does interest him; and the child will likely return to the book in his own time. This is very important for helping your child develop an interest in reading in the early years and to ultimately enjoy reading in his free time.
Use Local Resources
A poet and philosopher Henri Frederick-Amiel states, "Everything you need for better future and success has already been written. And guess what? All you have to do is go to the library." Local resources, like libraries are perhaps the best resources for exploring and finding appropriate children's books and for teaching your child the importance reading has in a community. Sitting in public places where people are genuinely interested in learning and reading in their own free time can powerfully influence children. Libraries give you access to the variety of content that even you as a parent may not yet be familiar with, but may connect with your child in a whole new light. To discover new content at home, there are a variety of websites you can check out for finding level appropriate books: TeachersFirst.com, SchoolLibraryJournal.com, or Booklist.com.
Leslie Prechtel, local children's school librarian at Wichita Collegiate School, further details these tips in this video. You are welcome to visit her library at the Early Childhood Campus at Wichita collegiate School, or if you have any questions, you may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Wichita Collegiate School, visit http://www.wcsks.com.
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