Does it matter what children read or is it more important they just read?
Encouraging your child to read is very important. You probably don’t need me to tell you that.
When many people think of helping a child to read they think of stories, fiction books, and fairy tales. Let’s face it. These have been the staple of all children’s literature for many years. I spent a lot of my spare time at school devouring all manner of books in the library. And, I grew up to be a children’s author.
Does it matter what children read?
No, it doesn’t matter what a child reads as long as she or he is reading. I don’t know any parent, teacher or education specialist who would argue with that. There are so many wonderful non-fiction books available. Who wouldn’t benefit from reading them?
The most important thing to remember here is that the child is engaging with written words, images, and facts, which they find interesting and inspiring. They are learning about subjects, which appeal to them.
These books are also full of subject-centric words. This means that the words used are specialized or apply to the specific topic of the book. This is a great way to expand your child’s vocabulary.
Does a child miss out on something if they don’t read fiction?
The immediate answer to this is ‘yes’ and for several reasons.
Fiction stories follow a pattern. They have a beginning, a middle and an end. There is a point of crisis, which is resolved at some point. This structure can be seen in children’s fairy tales from Red Riding Hood to the Harry Potter books. Being able to understand this process allow us to enjoy the stories more.
Also, the structure of fiction books helps children to tell their own stories. This not only means on paper but also in life as they grow up. Being able to retell an event in your life is an important skill because it adds value to your life and helps you connect with others.
When people listen to a story being told, their brainwaves actually match the pattern of the storyteller’s brainwaves. This creates a unique and special bond, which science is just discovering, but those of us who love storytelling and reading probably knew all along.
As well, fiction books also help introduce children to different words, further building their vocabulary. The more words a child knows, the greater their ability to read, write and communicate will be.
What about comics?
Comics are a great way to engage young readers, especially boys, in fictional stories. They follow the normal structure of stories but with a few differences. They have limited text, which appeals to struggling readers, they get to point quickly, and they are full of exciting, action-packed images.
Many teachers have used comics to introduce children to reading.
Can nonfiction lead to fiction?
Reading nonfiction can certainly lead to a love of fiction books. The skills realized in reading anything are transferable to any other type of text.
The most important thing to remember is not to push your child. When he or she is ready to move from one type of book to another, they’ll tell you. You might find them in the fiction book section at your local library or selecting a fantasy series from kindle.
Once a child develops a passion for reading, they are not going to stop. Like me, they will probably go from one book to another and be taken from one fascinating world to another.
It’s just a matter of patience and time.
About the author – Susan Day
Susan Day is a children’s author and writer. Her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips for grandparents, parents, and teachers to support them in helping children become better readers. As well, Susan has created a guide to help grandparents build a more meaningful relationship with their grandchildren through their love and passion for books.
Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three boss cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo. And, apart from blogging, writing and reading; she loves coffee, painting and learning to box.