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 wonders of the imagination. It is recommended that a child be introduced to reading at an early age and that a wide range of books from various categories be made available. And it is one of the aims of the Kumon Reading Program 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, it can be said that parents must provide their child 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 long task with regards to time and effort.
Here are some tips on how you can come up with criteria to assess just how appropriate certain books are:
- Age. 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 usually choose short chapter books. Some books have age guidelines on the back of the book; but remember that these are just that: guidelines. Some books may be too easy for good readers or too hard for children who are struggling.
- Ability. 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 off with easy or just-right books since starting off with difficult books might put them off reading for good.
- Interests. Ask your child what stories he prefers and consider books which capture his interests and educate him at the same time. Some prefer funny stories, while others love factual books. Some like interactive books that invite them to repeat rhymes and words while some love books filled with illustrations.
- Recommendations. Talk to other parents and teachers about books that they could recommend. Also, the Kumon Program has a Recommended Reading List which consists of 377 titles from 298 authors. These books are a variety of award-winning literature and popular books that cover a wide range of topics from adventure, fantasy, science fiction, nature, and biographies. You may acquire a copy of the list from your Kumon Instructor.
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 a variety of authors and genres. Share with your child a simple rule when it comes to reading time and it is this: reading is fun!