November 18, 2013
WHO PICKS A BOOK TO READ - YOU OR YOUR CHILD?
Linda M. Penn
“Grandma, come here. I want this book about turtles.” “Daddy, can I have this pony book?” “Mom, look at this spooky book.”
At book signings while sitting by the Children’s Dept. at bookstores, I have overheard pleadings such as these from kids. Can you guess which kids got a book they wanted? Sure, they all did! The average time spent in a bookstore children’s department? 5 to 8 minutes. (no scientific research – just observation)
Also by observation, in libraries, it seemed more of a mutual decision by child and adult. The average time spent in a library children’s department? 20 to 30 minutes.
Not sure about why this time difference, but maybe in stores, the adults are in a hurry so they can spend the least amount of money and still feel good about buying a book for the child. (guilt trip maybe?) Of course, a library is quiet without the hustle of shoppers, so everyone is probably much more relaxed and more consideration is given to a book choice.
Let’s explore another occasion for picking books for kids – giving a book to a child as a surprise gift. I am in this category quite frequently. (Hey, what does an author give as a gift? A book, of course!) It helps me when I know the child’s age along with the interests of the child. If I am unsure of a choice, I usually ask an employee what are the “hot picks” of kids.
So, who picks a book – you or the child? The adult is ultimately the one who has to monitor how appropriate the book is. Steering a child to a different choice is okay. A book that is mutually agreed upon has a much better chance of being read. This even includes when a child has his/her own money to buy a book, but this scenario can be very tricky. “It’s my money!” the child exclaims. (No tantrums please.)
1) Adult and child discuss book ideas BEFORE visiting a store or library.
2) Adult and child discuss approximate time limit BEFORE visiting a store or library.
3) Adult makes sure the child understands that the adult will oversee the book selection.
4) Adult will respect the child’s reading ability. PLEASE do not force chapter books on children BEFORE they are ready. It is tempting to boast to your friends and family that little Susie or Joey is already in chapter books!
5) When the child goes to the school library or an event like the Kentucky Book Fair with the school class, try to advise the child BEFORE the trip about wise choices. It is, however, the child’s choice. So even if you are not enthused about the choice, please try to find something positive to say.
6) Remember – Reading is meant to be an enjoyable experience!
NEXT MONTH – “Who Actually Reads the Book – You or the Child?”
To my Louisville, KY area Blog followers – check out the November 14, 2013 Courier-Journal article, “Mayor, JCPS are partnering,” page A3. This article goes along with my July 16, 2013 Blog, “It’s Time Part 2.” If you have not read this Blog, you might want to read that before looking at the Courier-Journal article.
Copyright 2013 Linda M. Penn, All Rights Reserved
HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND GOD BLESS!