Let Kids Read What They Want
Only a week to go until Christmas. My celebration is going to be smaller this year -- especially with COVID. I hope everyone has a happy holiday season regardless of what's going on in the world. (Fingers crossed for that vaccine, though!)
A few weeks ago, there was a major discussion on Twitter. People were talking about how Shakespeare and classic fiction are pushed on children so much in school that they begin to hate reading.
I wish schools had a different policy. I firmly believe that in order to encourage a love of reading in children, we need to let them pick their own books.
That includes comic books, reading below their grade level, picture books, etc.
The most important thing is that they're READING. Who cares what it's about?
I remember being a kid -- maybe ten -- and picking out a Junie B. Jones book in the library at school. (If you don't know what that series is, it's about a girl named Junie B. Jones in the second or third grade. They're short books aimed at younger audiences.)
When I took it up to the library desk for check-out, the librarian looked at me and then the book and said, "aren't you a little too old to be reading this?"
In hindsight, I can't believe a librarian would say that. They're supposed to love all books and encourage reading. She eventually let me check-out Junie B. Jones, but I felt humiliated and stupid.
Yes, the book was below my reading level. Yes, I probably could've chosen a more difficult book to read. But I didn't want another book -- I wanted that one.
This form of literary pretentiousness needs to stop. Not every kid will like the classics. If they want to read Percy Jackson or Spiderman, LET THEM.
Forcing them to read books they don't like isn't helping them. It only fosters a hatred of reading.
Reading should be fun -- always. It's not supposed to be a chore or difficult thing. If you don't like reading, you just haven't found the right book yet.
I still read books below my reading level. I LOVE children's fiction -- it's why I write it. Wherever my librarian is now, I hope she's learned her lesson and stops telling kids what they can and can't read.
Let kids read what they want. I know I intend to.
Thanks for reading!