Finding Appropriate Books
If you are lucky enough to have an avid reader in the family then you are blessed. However, children need direction, monitoring, support and encouragement in choosing books, no matter what their ability. Your main problem with an avid reader is to keep them supplied with enough appropriate books to satisfy their appetite.
I stress appropriate because many parents buy “older” books for their advanced young reader, the content is not always suitable for their age. Books termed as “Young adult” aren’t suitable for under 12 year olds. Very few publishers indicate suitability, Puffin is one publisher that does.
You can generally get a good indication by the style of the cover, reading the back or a few random pages. I have come across parents duped by their 10 year olds into buying some of Jacqueline Wilson’s teenage books, titles such as Girls under Pressure. Jacqueline is a wonderful author and has switched many children on to reading but when an author writes for teenagers as well, but you do need to check the content.
How to Keep the Cost Down
There’s a cost factor to having an avid reader, they can clock up the Euros at a phenomenal rate, keeping them stocked with enough books.
The school library is a good source of age appropriate material and you have the advantage of the class teacher pointing your child in the right direction. Your local library is a very cost effective way of keeping your young reader busy, provided you have the time to take them. Your local librarian will also help with suggestions on suitable books.
You could encourage your child to start a book club with school pals or neighbours, with similar reading ability. It’s a way of getting more from a book through discussion, they can exchange books and it broadens their scope when exposed to other children’s choices.
Keep an eye on what your child is reading, encourage them to read different types of books, newspapers, journals etc, support them by providing them with lots of reading material whether it be from the library or a bookshop.
Be mindful that your wonderful avid reader may change when they reach secondary school, at 15 and 16. The reason, I think, is the amount of reading and study they have to do doesn’t allow them much free time. Try not to pressurise them, the good news is that they usually revert back again in their 20’s.
Some suggestions for suitable and appropriate books for avid readers in primary school:
- The Classics – Black Beauty, Treasure Island, Huckleberry Finn, etc.
- Books with a lot of pages, we refer to them as “doorstoppers” because of their size. Books like Eragon by Christopher Paolini which has 500 pages and small print (did you know that Christopher was 16 when he wrote Eragon?) or Inkheart by Cornelia Funke translated from Dutch, which has 550 pages and is now a movie too.
- Books where the storyline requires concentration such as Keeper by Mal Peet, a football story set in the jungles of South America. Or The Little Bookroom by Eleanor Farjeon, a selection of short stories recreating the magic of story she herself felt in a “little bookroom”.
- Autobiographies such as Steven Gerrard’s if your child is into sport.
Tara Book Company, based in Kilcolgan, Co. Galway, Ireland, are highly committed to fostering and encouraging a love of reading in children, and to supporting and promoting Irish authors and publishers.
Is your child an avid reader? Do you have any tips to share? Share them in comments below