Sunday, September 21, 2008
Choosing Your Child's Books
I'm making a donation to the library of my daughter's school. The school is only four years old, and it's a wonderful place with talented teachers. It is very small, which I also like, but the size and age of the school mean fewer established resources.
My daughter is reading well above her grade level, which creates some challenges. Material written at an appropriate instructional level for her reading ability is often not conceptually appropriate for such a young child. Non-fiction may require background knowledge that she hasn't yet absorbed, and fiction can contain themes that are far too worldly.
I made a deal on Ebay for a hundred and forty leveled reading books designed for grades 2-4. Score! This is my donation to the library. I could tell from the seller's description that most of them were appropriate, sweet books about pets and childhood adventures. I knew I would still have to sift through them and get out the chaff.
Here's the chaff I removed: Spongebob Squarepants. Captain Underpants. Worst of all is anything to do with popularity and kids playing childhood headgames with one another. Children do enough of that already. They don't need to be reading about it and thinking about it when they could be reading something fun and inspiring.
I learned something new about books for children today. If the book has a title like "Sixth-Grade Rats" or "Seventh-Grade Weirdo," or, on another slant, "Mom, You're Ruining My Life," it's probably something I would consider unwholesome and/or a waste of time. That's not to say that these books are terrible or that the content is decadent. It's just that they reflect things in our society that aren't positive, instead of inspiring children to want something nobler and better.
There is a lot of fun, valuable children's literature out there. I plan to support the good stuff, and keep my child away from the empty, worldly time-wasters. (Any eighties kids out there remember Sweet Valley High?)
Helping your child choose good books is almost as important as encouraging her to pick good friends.