How to Guide Children
to Great Books
want my child to read quality books. But how on earth can a Mom or Dad sort
through the millions of options to find jewels for the child to read?
One of the most important tasks of parenthood is to guide
your child into putting the right things into his or her body, right? Most of
us stop with advising them on good nutrition, and avoiding drugs, alcohol and
But what about what they choose to put in their MINDS?
That's just an important. Being able to guide your child toward books that will
become a part of his or her heart is as fulfilling as it is practical, from the
child's point of view.
Here are some guidelines:
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A GOOD BOOK
literature, well-written, with rich vocabulary and images.
• A few
words that are new to you. A quick way to tell if a book is "too hard" for you is to open it at
random to three pages and count how many words per page you don't know. If
there are three or more per page, wait a while and try that book again.
unusual, unique, engaging plots or structures. Avoid formulas and sequels. Kids
love series with the same character doing the same kinds of things, but you can
go overboard on that. There are too many stories out there in the world to get
stuck on the same one, over and over.
and problems are fine. Seek material that is emotionally challenging — but not
emotionally disturbing. Most young people can't handle violence, profanity, sex
Imaginative illustrations that involve or challenge the reader.
Characters and situations with which the reader can identify.
Appropriate, effective role models. "Happy" endings are not necessary
and "evil" need not always be punished. But those are both helpful, satisfying
outcomes for young readers. Remember, their emotional needs are different from
those of adult readers.
portrayals of people and events (except for fantasy genres).
information (fiction as well as non-fiction).
USE YOUR LIBRARY!
Make friends with a librarian. Let
him or her serve your family as other professionals do, from your doctor to
USE YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE!
Make friends with the children's
literature specialist who works there. Develop a great "reading
repertoire" for your children with a combination of free library books and
cherished, store-bought books.
SET UP A "LENDING LIBRARY" WITH YOUR KIDS' FRIENDS
On the first Saturday of every
month, get together to exchange paperback books.
MIX YOUR MEDIA WISELY
Read one book for every 10 hours you
watch TV. Read one book for every video you rent. Read one book for every 10
hours you play computer games.
public libraries sell used books once or twice a year, and that's a great time
to get books for your home library at a very reasonable price. Having books in
your home sends a good message to your children. A parent who actually sits
down and reads a book every day sends an even better one!