Picking Books for Kids

  1. Get your child a book that they want to read, not the book that you want them to read. 
    • Reading is supposed to be fun.  It isn’t supposed to be a chore.  Forcing a child to read something that they don’t care about will take something that could be fun and turns it into something they dread. 
  2. Comic books are great reading material. 
    • Comic books help develop a love of reading and are great tools for children with learning disabilities.
    • Comic books are also great sources of stories with plot lines that aren’t resolved quickly.
    • So, if your child wants a Batman comic book instead of “A Brief History of Time,” be glad that they want to read and give them the comic book. As long as it’s age-appropriate.
  3. Give audiobooks and literary podcasts a chance.  
    • Reading isn’t a competition and listening to audiobooks isn’t “cheating.” 
    • Studies have shown that listening to audiobooks can be as effective as reading a physical book.
    • You don’t have to limit your exposure to writing and literature to one particular format.  Listening to an audiobook is just another way to be exposed to reading.
    • Narrators bring something different to the table.  Whether it’s the proper pronunciation of a word to a unique way of delivering the words on the page, having a book read to you is a different experience.  We all know that there’s a difference between a high school production of “Death of a Salesman” and the version that is done by professionals.  The same principle applies to performances of other written works.  But you don’t have to take my word for it. (We love you, LeVar Burton!)
  4. Let your child pick their own books (within reason, of course).
    • Whether it’s eating vegetables or reading a book, children are more likely to accept something that they had a role in picking or making. 
    • I know what you’re thinking: “What if my kid picks a book that’s too easy or too hard?”  The answer to that is pretty simple: Get them the book anyway.  As adults, we don’t always read books that challenge us.  Sometimes, we read something that is fun or easy just because we like the story or because it looks interesting.  Kids are the same way.  And don’t overlook the fact that an older perspective can bring new and interesting insights to books that seem too easy.

Lea’s Corner: Revisiting Older Books

My relationship with reading has always been an interesting one. Although I loved reading, I hated reading assignments with a deep and burning passion.  Don’t get me wrong: I liked some of the required reading. But, there was something about being forced to read a book that bothered me and I dreaded almost every reading assignment I was given.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago when I stumbled across an pre-owned copy of “Catch-22” while doing an inventory of our pre-owned books. When I went through it, I found it to be a funny book and an easy read. It’s possible that my taste has improved over the last 26 years. It’s also possible that having to read case law and statutes for the last 17 years has shown me what truly boring writing is. Or maybe when my grade doesn’t depend on what I think about the book, the journey and experience of reading the book is better. All of this made me start to wonder: What other treasures did I miss while churning through required reading?  

To answer that question, I’m on a mission to revisit old books and classics. And I’m going to start with the ones that I remember hating the most.

Some of the classics I’ll be revisiting:

  • “The Plague” by Albert Camus 
  • “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad 
  • “The Sound and The Fury” by William Faulkner
  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare 
  • “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Wish me luck!