There is nothing that compares to a Book Fair for a child. You quickly become aware that it is Book Fair season, and you will know it even before your child buckles themselves into the car. They dig through their backpack, pulling out that ever familiar brochure with Scholastic written in bright red across the front. “Can I buy a book?” They ask. Some of the time they will already know what they want. As you peruse the catalog, you see that every other book is check marked. You know they can’t have it all, so how do you pick the right book for your child?
There are three major factors to consider when book shopping for your young reader: something that is age appropriate, that meets their ability to read, that lines up with their interests.
Your child will judge a book by its cover. If the picture grabs their attention, chances are they will want to buy the book. But just because a cover photo is attractive, doesn’t mean that your child will be able to read the book. A seven-year-old may have enjoyed the Harry Potter movies and may get excited when they see a book with Harry on the cover, but that type of book will not be an easy read for a child.
The same thing goes for simpler reads. There may be a cute unicorn on the cover of a book, but an eight-year-old would be too far advanced if that book were only a sight word family book. A good book needs to fit their age range. Some of the book order forms will break down the books available in age brackets. Even if they don’t, you can visit the Book Fair website and research different books there.
The ability to read a book is different than a book that is age appropriate. Since the way of learning varies from child to child, the ability to get through certain books can be a challenge. Yes, schools try and keep all children on the same level, but we both know that is not always the case. At every teacher conference, you are given what reading level your child is at. You are also shown what the reading level goal is for the end of the year. The teacher lays out a plan to help your reader reach that goal. It is up to you as the parent to work with the teacher to accomplish that goal.
If you select a book that is too easy, then your child will never grow. If the book is too complicated, they will become frustrated and may give up. The idea is to find a book that is right in the middle of the road while trying to adhere to the reading level that you are shooting for. Keep in mind that it is okay to challenge your child. In fact, it is imperative that you challenge a child. Without a little difficult, your child cannot develop the ability to dig within themselves and discover that they can do it.
This is the easy part. You are usually always aware of what your child’s interests are. You can see it from the toys in their room, the posters on their wall, and the comforter on their bed. It is easy to assume they would enjoy books about those characters. With the way that companies market their product, books are in abundance. If a book fair does not carry a particular item, there are scads of websites that will. Even the local library will most likely have what you are searching for.
Just as it is important to challenge your child when reading, it is also imperative that you keep an open mind to your child’s interests. Don’t snuff out their excitement for a particular topic. Just because you do not enjoy a subject, doesn’t mean that you have to force your interests on them. Allow them to be who they are. Encourage them to explore what’s out there. You will never know where a child’s interests will take them.
Books are more than learning tools. You have discovered that fact yourself through the books that you read. You personally don’t always read them to learn; you read them to escape. Your days are filled with your bosses demands, stacks of bills, and an endless list of errands to run. A good book is a great way to temporarily get away from life’s responsibilities and to recharge.
Sometimes children need that same escape. While not as stressful, their lives can be tough. They too need to escape into another world, just as you do. With so many books out there, there is sure to be one world that your child will love to envelop themselves in. Whether it be dreaming about fame in the suburbs of Plainview, walking the halls of Cherrydale Elementary, or laughing along with the Cat in the Hat, there is a world just waiting to grab your child’s attention.