Monday, December 10, 2012

Captain Underpants, Elephant and Piggie, and why there are no wrong answers

Reportedly, there was a mini-baby boom in 2006. (Google it. It's a thing.) I believe it because I'm seeing the results: right now, a lot of customers are seeking gifts for kids who are new to reading.

Buying for this phase of childhood can cause anxiety with a lot of gift buyers, who are concerned they'll get it "wrong." What if they insult an emerging reader with a book that's too easy? What if they present an insurmountable challenge in the form of a book that's too hard?

Don't panic. 

The books in our Learning to Read and First Chapter Books sections are designed to be great introductions to reading independently, but they're also perfect to read aloud with a favorite adult (and after a few readings, a book that was once too hard may be less so). Concerned about a book being too easy? Think about it this way: is your own reading material - your professional reading, your pleasure reading, the bookstore blog you're currently perusing -  all at the same level of difficulty? As important as it is to learn the "when two vowels go walking" rule (I've always felt sorry for the second vowel, which doesn't get to do the talking), I think the most important thing you can teach a new reader about reading is that it's fun, that it can be about anything.  It can be about your interests; it can be hilarious; it can be about kids like you or kids who are kind of like you except that they live somewhere else or they're genius detectives. It can even be about potty humor, whether your parents like it or not.

So, gift buyers, stop worrying. (At least about this gift. We'll get to your Aunt Millie next.)

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