My blogs touch on a number of subjects that pertain to children, especially on how parents can help their kids with their reading through the benefits of fiction. I want to encourage parents who are always front and center in the effort to help children become better readers, and it is important that parents learn easy ways of encouraging children to read more and read faster. There are important roles played by fiction—mystery, fantasy, science fiction, and sports stories—that can help achieve these goals.
Fiction Helps Captivate a Reader
My blogs support the particular benefits of reading fiction, which is an idea that a lot of people don’t embrace initially. Our society expects adults to be involved in the ongoing task of learning new technologies and absorbing and remembering large portions of the constant flow of new information coming at us from all directions: TV, newspapers, magazines, computers, friends, and our work environment. Neighborhood concerns compete with global affairs for our attention in this shrinking world.
There is a lot of apprehension about what the future holds for our young people. We work at our jobs and in our homes, volunteer for causes, schedule family time and fun time, and stress over the possibility we might be failing to equip our children sufficiently well for a future that is changing so rapidly that we can hardly keep up with it ourselves. It is, therefore, not surprising that many parents believe that learning to read should be combined with learning factual information as well, and that this win-win situation is best served by non-fiction.
Research, however, shows that a better way for a child to learn to read faster and better is by reading fiction. Why? It’s because children, like adults, read non-fiction more slowly in order to understand and absorb the information.
When you want to motivate a child to become a better reader, offer them fiction. Excitement, mystery, adventure, and fantasy can captivate and motivate a young reader to keep reading a book because it absorbs them. Empathy is encouraged through fiction as the reader learns about life from different perspectives and through the eyes of others.
Fiction Reinforces Important Life Skills
Maybe you no longer have time to read fiction, but remember when you read just for fun? When choosing fiction for your child to read, there is lots of scope, and you can reinforce particular life skills through various categories of fiction:
1. Mystery stories and detective fiction reinforce a child’s problem-solving skills.
2. Fantasy encourages creative thinking:
* Fairy tales and scary stories help children deal with fears, and the good guy always wins—big sigh of relief.
* Science fiction helps children accept change and encourages them to explore “what if” scenarios.
3. Sports stories teach children how to deal with winning and losing, not only in sports but also in other competitive fields including the academic world.
Don’t Let Your Unhappy Reader Give Up
Reading continues to be the most important skill learned at school and leads to many different careers where you can never be replaced by a robot—a threat that is now hanging over many heads in many fields.
Remember when you could turn on the TV and change channels in someone else’s house without directions? Remember when you could answer another person’s phone when they were busy? Remember when you could buy a new radio or coffee pot, bring it home, and just plug it in and start using it without reading an instruction booklet?
Everything we buy now is so technically complex, it comes with instructions on using it, cleaning it, the type of batteries needed, and how to access and use all the features. We once had a few clocks in the house but now, when the power goes off, we have to re-set clocks in every room and on practically every appliance and plug-in device we own, and they are all different. Do you remember how to change them all or do you need to re-read the instructions for some of them?
Reading is more important today than ever before. Make sure your kids are hanging in there. If they are poor readers and don’t want to practice, offer them fiction and remind them that in our society, if they can’t read, they can’t get a driver’s license.
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