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I previously discussed how reading books can empower children to perform better in school and for their wholesome development. We know that it is important to read with our children however picking books can be a challenge in itself.
How children make their selection when they see a choice of books?
With a wide array of books small children can get really confused with the choices. While I was browsing on the net I discovered that when children of ages 6 -7 were invited to select their favorite book from among nine high-quality, well-illustrated picture books representing a variety of topics, media, and genres. An overwhelming majority of first graders preferred informational books, especially animal books. It has been seen that most young readers prefer to read folk tales and fantasy. Most of the readers in elementary school are extremely influenced by the books the teachers promotes in the classroom.
Most children read better when they pick their own books. Children pick most of their books based on the cover page. Some do read the story in short at the back of the cover and make their selection. However the lesser we influence our children as parents or teachers and leave the child to make their own choices chances of making them recreational readers is high!
Selection of books is that gender driven?
In general, girls have been shown to read more than boys, perform better on reading tests than boys, and prefer stories with female protagonists, with boys preferring to read about male characters. Girls have shown more interest in stories, especially when highlighting family, friendships, and home life. Boys have often been shown to prefer nonfiction, particularly sports, science, and history information. The topic of animals has been associated with both girls’ and boys’ preferences. Several studies have shown that boys seem more bound by gender than do girls especially in public settings. It is perceived that gender difference is probably not inherited but mostly culturally influenced.
Also these patterns vary with age. Children as they grow do change their prefrences in reading a 6 -7 yr old maybe highly interested in fantasy as compared to a 9 - 10 yr old who might be interested in more fact based and realistic books. The fact is that children of any age should be uninfluenced.
Another factor is that selection should be done on the basis of ability. Ability to comprehend and interest in the book. Children have to deal with peer pressure and hence to fit in, in their friends circle tend to read books which may be hard for them to read or the information in the book may be a little to complex. When this happens children get very disheartened and might not be encouraged to read books again.
Teachers and their role in nurturing reading habits in children!
Teachers play an important role in influencing children to read better. A well read teacher can make appropriate recommendations for the child to read and build interest in books. Children are very hierarchical in their thinking and what the teacher says or recommends is absolutely not debatable. Since the reading habit develops in grade school the teachers role is vital as most of the childs' day is spent with the teacher. As mentioned earlier children select books based on the picture on the cover, chances of selecting wisely is very low hence, the teacher should give them books that they can handle and should monitor and record progress effectively to make sure that when the child has shown progress they move up in the reading scale.
Plus their recommendations should include cross reading. Cross reading is reading across various genres. Cross reading should be cultivated as soon as children are reading by themselves independently. When child is given a choice of books to select from it is good to include varied books from different genres and authors. This helps the child to clearly understand the kind of books they enjoy reading. The exposure to different authors and genres of books can give your child insight into other cultures, worldwide locations, and new vocabulary. For instance, science fiction books may have different vocabulary and settings than we find in mystery books.
Making reading an enriching experience and not a burden!
Lastly we need to ensure we make reading a fruitful experience for them. By constantly enforcing or pushing the habit we might have a reverse effect and reading books can become a dreadful experience. We can only cultivate this habit gradually and it gives children also the space they need to make a choice about reading as a habit. Just being around books, even though children dont pick them up to read it is alright as it still impacts them positively. Eventually they will pick them up themselves and develop an inclination towards books!
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