Getting the children to read is a step but getting them to read a range of books is another matter. It’s been my fault. Once I raised a reader I think I just assumed with all these books around they would read a range of them.
I see they don’t.
I know it doesn’t happen to every reader but for some readers once they find an author or book series they can get stuck there. While I’m happy I have boys who read and love to read there’s definitely more to this reading journey than cul-de-sacs.
Although we read there’s more to explore just up and over the horizon. As their guide, I need to guide.
The care is to not switch them off to books by forcing them to read also not give the impression it’s wrong to read everything by an author or a series. I guess it comes down to this: you can’t say you don’t like animal books if you’ve never read one. Once you’ve read an animal book now you can tell me why you don’t like that one.
Here’s one idea we’ve done as a family to try and bring some diversity into our range of books.
Use the summer time to read
There’s the traditional summer reading at local libraries. Last year I picked some different genres and encouraged them to read books in that area. They didn’t have to read at reading age. The idea is it would be fun and interesting.
First up was biographies. As a family we straddle the American and British cultures with race sprinkled in for good measure. It’s not surprising that they won’t know significant people and events if they are in the other country. Currently we’re in the US so British history, culture and people is in the minority. A few years back it was the other way around. There are picture book biographies. There’s also the “Who was..” series.
At the end of the summer they had learned about scientists, inventors, famous people from history and from different countries. It inspired lots of conversation between each boy too.
We chose biographies but there are other genres for your family.
- Favorite subjects from last school year.
- Future topics up and coming.
- Personal interests
Schools only have time to cover part of topics. Now they can dive deeper or enjoy at their own pace.
Why it worked?
- We had time to spend in the bookshops and libraries to find books that were interesting.
- During the school year there hasn’t been as much time to read and decide. Reading ages sorted themselves out. Yes you could get out 15 “Who was” books if you liked. You could also dive deeper and go to the junior or adult section and learn more with another books.
Our journey to reading with three boys have been in three very different ways. Now we reached the destination of, ” I can read by myself” I took my hand off the wheel too much. They still needed me to help them explore this amazing area. Happily they’ve explored well themselves already but I do notice they are steering clear of many areas.
Now I have a plan to share and explore with them. Not expecting a new love but expecting a toe dip that might lead further.
How do you balance their reading with reading a range of books?