Sunday, October 9, 2016

Helping Children To Choose The Right Book

My eight-year-old daughter enjoys reading books.  However, I noticed she wasn’t reading anything of late beyond her third-grade assignment.  When I asked her about it, she said she didn’t like any of the books that she had stored in her crowded bookcase.

I was a bit surprised by her answer, first because she has a lot of books and second, I would expect her to speak up to tell me that she wants something to read.

We sat down at her bookcase and I realized she had stored a lot of books that she’d already read or she had others that her older brother handed down to her, both of which she lacked interest in.

There were also some other books, like Little House on the Prairie, that my wife used to read as a kid.  Those two she seemed uninterested in.

I asked her if there were any books that she enjoyed that were part of a series.  We found three or four, each a part of a different series.  Now we were cooking.  I suggested we go to the library and get more books from these series.  She agreed.

I also suggested she ask the librarian for suggestions on things to read, perhaps other series that are similar to the ones she liked.  In the process of trying to find her books that she would enjoy I realized that there are many ways to go about this hunt.

Here’s what I will do with her and suggest that others do for their kids:

1.      Check out the reviews of School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly or other reputable publications.

2.      Ask kids of similar age to your child what they are reading.

3.      Scan the shelves of your local independent bookstore or ask the store owner for a recommendation.

4.      Browse the shelves of your library or ask the librarian for some suggestions.

5.      Take note of what your child likes to read or the interests they express and seek out reading material that matches.

6.      Go with the classics.  There are many old-school books that you can introduce to a child.

7.      Take a look at the best-seller lists for age-appropriate books.

8.      Pick a theme and find books to support it.  For instance, this month only read sports biographies or books about historical figures or mysteries.

9.      Read the book that a popular movie was based on.

10.  Read books by certain writers.  Maybe they are local writers or they are writers who are a particular gender, ethnicity, religion or nationality.  Read writers who won certain awards or accomplished great things.

Book choice can be overwhelming.  There are literally too many books published for any parent, educator, or librarian to keep up with.  In the end, you must encourage your child to experiment. Don’t pigeonhole them into one genre.  Allow them to try a free range of books, even on subject matter you have no interest or experience in.

Reading should not be a chore, nor can it be left to chance.  Adults should encourage kids to read and reward them for doing so.  They should engage their reading habits and help them feel stimulated by the words and images on a page. Books can raise a new generation of thinkers and doers.  All that we need to do is get them to open a book – any book – and let the books do the rest of the work.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.

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