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10/12/2010 at 12:00 PM ET

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Jacqui on

Regarding the picture book piece:

It’s as though some parents just don’t understand child development and learning. Handing a toddler Crime and Punishment isn’t going to make him smarter or a better reader.

I’m fascinated by the San Antonio woman with the book blog. She comes across as terribly controlling, pushy. Way to take the magic right out of childhood for your little Laurence. He’s FOUR!!!

MiB on

Having worked as a nanny, day care provider and pre school teacher as well as having studied early childhood developement and linguistics, I cringed when I read the article from New York Times. As for the woman from san Antonio; way to go to kill your son’s joy of reading! First of all, forcing your child to read certain books is not going to make him like reading, but rather to resent it, secondly (let’s face it), the early reader books are often way less complex and interesting than many picture books, and therefore possibly useful for someone learning the language, but not for a native speaker to develope their love of reading. I remember them as painfully dull compared to many picture books and, like most kids who are given the choice, went directly from picture books to chapter books (the early readers lay untuouched, which was rare for a child who would read the phone book if there was nothing else to read). Off course there was a period where my parents would read chapter books to me while I would read picture books for myself, that is natural since the ability to understand and enjoy complex sentences while listening is developed way before the ability to read the same sentences.

The way to go with reluctant readers is to read them things that interest them. My brother for example, was a reluctant reader, and my wise parents realized that the important thing was that a) he read anything at all, b) he was read to, and c) that he saw other people enjoying reading. If that meant that they had to read him Mickey Mouse at an age when they had read me chapter books, so be it! He basically went directly from cartoons to thick fantasy books when he was a teenager and is now reading as much as the rest of the family.

I feel as if I have branched out a bit, but the article made me so upset! Picture books let children process more complex text at a younger age than chapter books, and should therefore be encouraged as long as the child is interested in them.

If you want your child to like reading, show them that you like reading, read to them, and let them pick the books (one of my charges started reading chapter books because he couldn’t wait another week to find out what was going to happen next in the “special” book the two of us were reading when I was watching him!). Don’t preassure a child into reading something they don’t want to read, and don’t beat yourself up if they’d rather you read aloud to them (they might just have a better auditory than visual processing ability, or they might just like to hear your voice)

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