Have you heard of The Rights of the Reader? Readers have rights! And young children should be encouraged to embrace their rights as a reader too.
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Do you wonder if you should allow your child to reread favorite stories or if you should allow them to choose their own books? What about silly books like Captain Underpants–is that type of book really helping your child become a reader? And what if he’s bored or hates the chapter book all the home-school curriculums suggest is good classic literature? Is it okay if she doesn’t finish a book?
Basic Rights of the Reader Guidelines
When it comes to what’s best for your readers we want to respect and abide by some basic guidelines we would give our adult selves. Some guidance and best judgment are recommended here but basically, don’t force your child to read something they find dreadfully boring unless it is necessary to fulfill a different purpose, and then provide ways to make it engaging: allow them to listen to the audiobook or use it as a read-aloud or paired reading activity.
If your child chooses a book from the library and does not want to finish it, don’t insist that he does. Life is too short to read books that aren’t good and sometimes the best cover disguises the fact that a book just isn’t our cup of tea. Don’t let him get into the habit of never finishing a book because that is not good for reading development. Use your best judgment and think about how you would handle the situation like an adult.
And those silly books and graphic novels? They are okay in moderation and they are preferable if your child is otherwise unmotivated to read or is overcoming a reading deficit.
Interest will always propel a child to read more and try harder than a book he does not like.
I often hear parents ask if graphic novels are “real books”. My answer: they are if they help your child become a better, happier reader!
Allow your child to explore different genres. My son always made a beeline for the nonfiction section in the library and try as I might I could not get him interested in the pictures books no matter how lovely the illustrations were. Choice is always going to be your ally in helping your child love reading, so use it to your advantage!
Are you unsure of what books are right for your child at each level? Read this article to learn what to look for when choosing books.
Help your child learn to choose her own books!
The Rights of the Reader All Contribute to Learning to Love Reading
In short, we want children to love books, love to read, and become independent readers who feel empowered to make choices about their reading. Reading should be something they choose to engage in not something done to them or imposed on them.
What are your thoughts on the rights of the reader for young children? How has allowing your child to choose her own books impacted her love for reading? What tips do you have for parents with a reluctant reader? Leave your comments below and join our Facebook group, Teach a Child to Read to add to the discussion!
Read, read more, read more often. ~ Mary
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