Most of the time when we see a kid reading we get so excited just because he is reading! Which is great! And if you have read my previous post “Encouraging Reading” then you know that I am the same way! BUT!!!! (there is always a but…isn’t there) let me ask this: WHAT are “your” kids reading?
I say “your” because there are kids all around us who are “ours”. You may be a teacher, a daddy or a mama, a neighbor who has watched the kids next door grow and flourish, a church member or friend who loves another’s child like your own, an aunt or uncle, grandmother or grandfather. Regardless of who you may be, there are children in our lives that we love and for whom we are responsible.
So, what does that mean about what kiddos are reading? Well, just like most of us would be aware of what our kids are watching, we want to have the same vigilance with what our kids are reading.
Just because they can, doesn’t mean they should.
Often as parents we get super excited because our kiddo may be on a ridiculously high reading level. (Yay! Superheros whose super power is reading! BEST SUPER POWER EVER!) Sadly and realistically, upper reading level means more mature topics. It means different language, mature situations and discussions.
Are you aware that the book your innocent 3rd grader is reading is intended for middle or high school kids? That the main topic is boyfriend/girlfriend relationships or deciding whether or not to have sex? These topics are not bad in and of themselves! But are they age appropriate?
So here is my suggestion: be vigilant.
- Preview the books your kiddo reads. Look up reviews or other parent commentary.
- Read a bunch of age appropriate books and have some titles for “your” kiddos to choose from.
- Don’t be afraid to comment kindly to a parent and say “Hey, I’ve read that book and I’m not sure if it matters to you or not, but….” I guarantee, they will be grateful for the protection you are offering. (Granted you do it respectfully without calling their parenting into question.)
- Talk to your child’s teacher. He/she WILL have a wonderful list of age appropriate books for your kiddo to choose from.
- Think: If this was a movie, would I want my 2nd grader to see it?
- Be willing to read along with your child and discuss more mature topics.
- Just like you would want to protect your child from movies, TV, internet or other exposures to things he may not be ready for, do the same with a book. Just because it is a BOOK, doesn’t mean it is GOOD for your kid.
In this vein, I will have a few recommendations over the summer. To start:
My 9 year old recommended the novel TRUE…(sort of) by Katherine Hannigan. Her teacher read it aloud to the class this past year and my kiddo couldn’t quit talking about it. Week 1 of summer and she checked it out from the library to read on her own. She was so captivated by the story, that I decided to give it a go myself.
1 a.m. and a box of tissues later and TRUE was on my list of favorites!!!
This book is beautifully and simply written in a precious Southern voice. Delly Pattison races across the page on “Dellyventures” and straight into your heart to become the biggest “surpresent” you and your kiddo may find in a book this summer… or ever! The novel does deal with a child who is being abused at home, however, details are not graphic and the issue is dealt with in a completely age appropriate way.
(Rated: PG for the abuse situation you may need to discuss with your kiddo)
Go to your local library this summer and on your own or with your librarians help, grab a stack of age appropriate books to peruse with your magical creatures!