Every child's tastes are different. Too often adults, and even kids’
peers, try to push their own reading interests onto them. Sometimes I
would get frustrated when I would see the classics pushed onto one of
my sons because it was driving him to boredom and a dislike for
reading. Ironically, I would often try to get that same son more
interested in reading by finding adventure books and fantasy books for
him to read. He liked them okay, but they weren’t his thing. That was
puzzling to me since I loved those books and so did my older son.
Ultimately, I discovered that he really enjoyed reading about sports.
For awhile he read sports books, but then most of his reading shifted to the
sports section of the newspaper or on web sites, and that’s great,
because he was reading.
All my children are readers, but they all have different tastes, which range from the classics to fantasy and adventure to contemporary thought provoking literature and to non-fiction or historical books. Many times children don’t consider themselves readers simply because the world’s supposed view of what reading is doesn’t mesh with their own. Once one of my adult nieces mentioned that she wasn't a reader and that she’s read probably less than 5 books in her life. She listed the books, which were all fiction, but then went on say how she loves to read books that you can learn about things, such as rock climbing and similar things. She’s definitely a reader.
The key is to give children choices in their reading. Just because they don’t want to read the classics or the latest bestselling novel, doesn’t mean they’re not readers. It’s a mistake to force our own interests or likes on them. Instead, we need to help them discover the books or other reading material that will appeal to their unique tastes.
For more insights on the importance of finding books that target children’s specific interests, take a look at the following Librarian Booktalks:
Also, take a look at these resources for book ideas for children.
Copyright 2001-2019 by Ken Baker
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