Today’s education system has turned it focus towards literacy. To reach out to parents and children in creative ways, innovative schools have initiated the trend of literacy nights and reading clubs. Librarians are putting all of their efforts to arrange authors’ visits to their schools to promote the reading habits of their students. To some extent all these efforts are helping children to divert their attention from computers, video games, Wii and Play Station to reading books.
The question here is: are we aware of what kind of reading children are engaging in and who decides what a seven year or an eleven year old child should be reading. Taking the discussion a step further, is it justified if a fifty year old is writing a book for a five-year old? If yes then the mature adult whose experiences flow through a children’s story must make it possible for himself to think with child’s perspective in his mind.
There is no doubt in it that the prime focus of children’s books is to entertain and to provide them pleasure through reading. Attention also needs to be given to the fact that books which children are reading should be helping them to develop cognitively in addition to entertain them.
Being a parent it might be a good exercise to go through what they are reading to ensure that their readings are not only helping them in learning and developing the language skills but also assisting them in their personal and mental growth. Child’s mind is pure and tender so they can easily be trapped and influenced by any idea irrespective of its rationality and validity. Therefore the literature they are going through should be filtered by adults around the child.
Children’s books come in a wide range. In fact, they start from infancy to adolescence. A ten year old reading a book for fourteen year old may be considered good in terms of better command on language but on the other hand, there is always a risk of being exposed to the information which is intended for a much mature reader, having a better capacity to interpret the content.
The key lies in balancing our approach towards reading. While it serves to be an extremely intellectual and developmental activity, it is important to be aware of the details of the literature in order to maximize the benefits and eliminate the harms.