Your child’s school probably has a terrific library stocked with age-appropriate reading and plenty of reference materials. And this is a great place for your child’s love of reading to grow, but it’s not the only place.
Taking your child to your local library is also a key building block. If you start when your child is young and share the experience of selecting and picking out books to read, you can set an example that your child may choose to follow for many years to come.
Instilling a love of reading early on can help your child do better in school, discover new interests, and so much more. Reading is an essential building block to a well-rounded life. Start when your child is young by letting him select children’s novels and reading chapters to him before bed. In later years, make regular trips to the library and discuss the books he’s reading.
During trips to the library, allow your child freedom to pick and choose books. If he wants help and you’re unsure where to begin, consider these tips about the books in the library.
A Note on the Classics
Remember that just because a book isn’t “a classic” doesn’t mean it’s not a great book for your child. Brilliant new books are being published every year. Also, your child will probably read or learn about most of the major classics in school, so let him read books outside of school for his enjoyment, not because a book is really old and well-known.
In fact, many books that are selected in lesson plans may discourage your child from reading. William Shakespeare’s plays for example have classic storylines that students will encounter again and again so they’re great to learn about, but actually reading the books can be difficult and stressful to many students. A book that is clearly written and easy to relate to will be much more likely to capture your child’s attention.
Helping Your Child Select the Right Books
There are millions of great books out there, but your child isn’t going to love them all. And that’s perfectly fine. Everyone has their own preferences. But you can help your child find books he’ll enjoy reading so that picking up a new one doesn’t feel like a chore. That’s why it’s important for parents to get involved and help their children select books — parents know their children best!
Whether your child is a new reader or mastering the art, there are plenty of books to check out. Consider his specific interests in order to find books he’ll love to read. For example, if your child likes to …
Listen to Music — Go for books with rhythm. For young readers, try artfully crafted folk tales and vibrantly illustrated children’s novels. Later, suggest a collection by a contemporary poet. Biographies about musicians or nonfiction novels about music movements could also grab the attention of older readers.
Watch Movies — Try a novel that was later adapted into a favorite movie, like William Goldman’s The Princess Bride or The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Your child may discover that the book is better than the movie after all.
Play Dress Up — Stories based in an historical period are a great choice. Start with Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women or Lynn Reid Banks’s The Indian in the Cupboard series and move on to Jane Austen novels or historical biographies.
Fight with Siblings — Books based on family, like The Berenstain Bears series, can be very relatable and offer moral guidance. Beverly Cleary is another great choice. Relationships with family members is a common theme in the young adult section as well.
Look at the Stars — The science fiction section holds countless treasures for the dreamer. Roald Dahl and Lewis Caroll books are also great places to start.
Dive into a Certain Subject — Your child may be interested in learning more about events studied in school, such as the Holocaust or 1920s Prohibition. Help him expand his search with novels written during that time period, (in this instance, anything by Primo Levi or the Lost Generation, respectively).
Play Video Games — Science fiction, fantasy, or even select graphic novels can be great choices, but if your child is less interested in books than screens, your local library may also have computers with online educational games and programming designed for young library goers.
In the end, if you’re stumped when it comes to picking up a good read, never hesitate to ask your local librarian for a suggestion. Online book clubs and reading lists are also available should you need additional suggestions. Just remember that one of the keys to a lifelong love of reading is to have fun as you explore the library together with your child.
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