“No, you can’t check out that comic book, you need to get a real book.”
“That book’s too easy for you.”
These are words I’ve heard from many well-meaning caregivers who want their kids to become good readers. As a librarian, I want to make the case for letting kids read whatever they choose.
All reading is good reading. Your child will learn new vocabulary, improve fluency and build comprehension regardless of whether they read comic books, picture books, nonfiction or magazines. The best way to get better at reading is to practice the skill and kids who get to choose their own books are more motivated to practice!
Even the youngest readers benefit from choosing their own books. While you may grow tired of reading The Snowy Day for the 47th time this week, your child is developing important reading skills like phonological awareness (the idea that words are made up of sounds) and narrative skills.
Older readers begin to develop personal interests. Feeding their curiosity is a fantastic way to keep kids reading. Just yesterday my daughter was very excited to tell me about the skateboarding cat she’d read about in a Ripley’s Believe it or Not book.
Here are just a few of the ways to encourage reading:
- Audiobooks easily turn car time into reading time and give kids access to more challenging books than they might be able to read on their own. They’re also great for kids who need to be active. A pair of headphones and a download from Hoopla can turn any device into an opportunity to read while walking, drawing or playing.
- Comic books and graphic novels add visual context to new words, enabling vocabulary development.
- Cookbooks are complex technical texts that will expose kids to new vocabulary. Helping your child try out a new recipe also provides a wonderful opportunity for family bonding time.
- Joke books can be particularly motivating (who doesn’t want a good laugh?) and help kids learn about figurative language and words with more than one meaning.
- With their shorter articles and appealing layout, magazines often entice kids to try out new topics that might not hold their interest in a full-length book.
If you and your children need help picking out a book, visit with your friendly librarians in the Kids Library or on a bookmobile. We have insider knowledge on what’s popular and good for developing kids who love to read.