It may be second nature to feel like you should be picking your children’s books, but the fact is, letting children choose their own books is a skill that they should learn at a young age. By allowing children to choose their own books independent of your input, they learn to appreciate the different reasons that we choose to read in the first place.
If your child has reached reading age, here are a few helpful tips to help children learn to choose books that will make them want to read again and again:
- When your child is ready to start reading, begin instilling the fact that we read for a purpose – whether it’s to learn something or for simple enjoyment.
- Have your children browse through the books either at the library or the bookstore. If this seems to be too overwhelming, then have them narrow down their choices by either a type of book (fiction or nonfiction) or by genre such as action, comedy or a particular subject.
- Say “yes” as often as you can when your child selects a book that he or she is interested in. If the book is inappropriate, let them know that although they may not choose the book today, they may choose it when they are older.
- If your children select a book that is beyond their reading ability, solve the problem by reading together. Whenever possible, allow them to read as much of the book as they can themselves; you can jump in if there are parts that are difficult for your children to read or understand.
- If your child has really enjoyed a particular book, remind him or her of the author’s name the next time they are selecting books.
Becoming a great reader happens one book at a time and developing a life-long love for reading starts in childhood. In this day in age, children are surrounded by electronic means of stimulation and the magic of reading is sometimes left undiscovered. Giving children the freedom to choose their own books increases their interest and therefore, their desire to read.