Monday, June 22, 2015

It’s summer, and I hope that your kids enjoy discovering new books. However, even kids who read fluently can fall into “reading rut”. Here is how to help them broaden their reading interests and get them out of their comfort zone.
Portrait of a smiling student in a library

What Is a “Reading Rut”?

We consider ourselves lucky. Our 8 year old is a bookworm. We don’t need to “make” her read – in fact, sometimes we wish she would stop reading and do something else. There is, however, a “tiny” problem – all that she picks on her own are fantasy books. She rarely gives other genres a chance unless the book contains quizzes – Smarty is quite competitive by nature and relishes a chance to test her knowledge. She used to respond to my sneaking other genres into our library book bag, but lately she mostly just ignores the books that she didn’t pick herself and she does not want me to read them to her any longer. They just sit in the library book bag until it’s time for them to get back to the library. And, while I appreciate my daughter’s love for fiction, I feel that she is missing on library experience and on some great books by never visiting any other isles of the library.

Dewey System Challenge

A couple of weeks ago during our library visit, I asked Smarty to call out a number between 0 and 999. She called, I think, 116. This is where I brought her attention to the numbers on bookshelves in non-fiction section and explained how the books are sorted according to Dewey decimal system and how the librarians use it to put the books back where they belong on the library book shelves. Then I challenged her to check out section 116. and see if she might find any books of interest there. I think there was nothing in section 116, but there were suddenly many books competing for her attention – books about grammar, about handling anger, books about caring for pets. For the first time in ages our library book bag was filled with non-fiction books picked by my daughter, not by me. Needless to say, she actually read them or at least parts of them that were of interest to her. Last week, I didn’t even have to invite her to non-fiction – she was sitting there for an hour reading some books “on the spot” and eventually picking some to take home”.

Your Turn

Encouraging kids to read outside their favorite genre and their reading comfort zone
How do you broaden your children’s reading genres and encourage them to try something new?

More Literacy Ideas for Kids?

Follow my Best Children Books Booklists Pinterest board.
Follow Natalie Planet Smarty Pants's board Best Children Books Booklists on Pinterest.

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Ticia said...

I love this suggestion. Right now my kids have favorite sections they go to and oddly enough it's nonfiction. Of course my boys also have a favorite series.
If Smarty hasn't read "The Ranger's Apprentice" series yet she might enjoy it (though right now it's boy heavy on characters, but my boys are loving it).

shelah moss said...

This is a great idea. I have the opposite problem, the kids that I work with usually prefer non-fiction. I am going to adapt this idea for fiction.