Catering to the changing tastes in your children's reading material can be very challenging once they graduate from co-reading with picture books into first reader chapter books and beyond. With two girls who have very different and constantly evolving tastes in books, the days where I buy them books are long gone. Rather than getting offended by my lovingly thought out purchases being relegated to the bookshelf without a nod, I now put my faith in my local kids' bookseller, Books In Print in Malvern to help the girls find content that they will devour happily.
I know there are many of you who are at a loss to find what will inspire your kids to read for enjoyment and cement a lifelong relationship with books. Here are some tips from the team at Books In Print to help get you started.
1. Many parents like to shop without the kids – I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a few moments of distraction-free peace from time to time? But in the case of getting your child to love reading it’s a good idea to bring them into the bookshop with you. You and your child may be surprised by what is available, as bookshops offer a very different experience to school libraries. What your child really wants to read may surprise and delight you as well.
2. Start by introducing your child by name to the bookseller (remember to ask for the bookseller’s name as well!). Bookshops should be friendly places, and encouraging your child to develop a rapport with an adult who loves books will help them to gain confidence and both parties will benefit from the exchange of ideas.
3. Make sure your child tells the bookseller which books/authors they have read and enjoyed (it may be quite different to what you, as a parent, think). Most booksellers like to hear feedback, and it gives a wonderful guide to help them choose something similar or, perhaps, steer them in a new direction – to expand their reading world.
4. Encourage your child to be honest with the bookseller. If they don’t like something we suggest, tell us. We won’t be offended, in fact, we may just agree! Choosing the book that feels right for them can take some pressure off you as a parent as well – no more wasted purchases!
5. Letting your child choose a book for themselves introduces the idea of reading for pure enjoyment rather than the chore it can sometimes seem. We love to meet and greet young readers, and as booksellers have watched many of them grow into avid adult readers.
6. Join up to the bookshop loyalty program where most stores keep in contact with you and will let you know about exciting new books for kids and adults alike.
Do you have a wonderful bookseller near you that has some great strategies and ideas to get kids engaged with reading? Let me know about them and I will be happy to share.