Reading has a lot of benefits for children. It increases their knowledge with the various events in society, boosts their reading ability and vocabulary, and allows them to experience the imagination’s wonder. Experts recommend that children start reading at an early age and that a wide range of books from various categories is made available. It is also advisable for parents to begin building their children’s mini library at home to get their children used to reading a wide variety of books.
One of the aims of the Kumon Reading Program is to encourage children to develop the habit of reading a variety of books so that they can continue learning throughout their lives. According to the late Kumon chairman, Mr. Toru Kumon, “if children are given books appropriate to their abilities, they will show an interest and start to read them.” With this, parents must provide their children with the needed guidance for them to come across a variety of authors, stories, and views. However, deciding which books are appropriate is a difficult and lengthy task considering the time and effort it takes.
Here are some tips on how you can develop criteria to assess just how appropriate certain books are:
Consider the age of your child and the books that certain age groups usually chose. For example, babies and toddlers love board books and picture books, beginner readers like short stories with pictures, while grade school children generally choose short chapter books. Once you find the age-appropriate book for your child, you can sit with him/her and read the book aloud, especially if your child hasn’t developed his/her reading ability yet.
Be familiar with your child’s reading ability so that you will be able to check if the words used in the stories are appropriate for your child’s reading ability, and if the scenarios presented can be easily understood by your child. It is better to build your child’s reading ability by starting with easy or just-right books since starting with difficult books might put them off reading for good.
Ask your child what stories he/she prefers and consider books that capture his/her interests and educate him/her at the same time. Some prefer funny stories, while others love factual books. Some like interactive books that invite interaction like repeating rhymes and words, while some love books filled with illustrations.
Talk to other parents and teachers about books that they could recommend. Also, the Kumon Program has a Recommended Reading List, which you can acquire from your Kumon Instructor. This list consists of 377 titles from 298 authors. The books mentioned in the list are various award-winning literature and popular books that cover a wide range of topics from adventure, fantasy, science fiction, nature, and biographies.
Above all these, one thing must always be remembered: choose books you think your child will enjoy! Children who enjoy books are far more likely to keep reading and exploring various authors and genres. Please share with your child a simple rule regarding reading time at home: reading is fun!