I think I could safely say that most kids would choose a fiction book over a nonfiction book on any given day. I can’t blame them. After all, most of the books on my reading list are fiction. However, we need to encourage our children to read nonfiction books as well for several reasons.
Nonfiction Reading Prepares Children
Junior high, high school, and college classes are filled with nonfiction reading. Students read in class, for homework, and to do research for papers and projects. The majority of that reading is nonfiction. A child who is used to reading nonfiction material will not be as overwhelmed by all the information they are required to read and remember later on. Teach them to recognize important text features like headings, subheadings, bold print and italic words. Point those features out as they read and talk with them about what those features are used for. This will enable them to notice and emphasize the features in their textbooks as they get older.
Nonfiction Reading is a Life Skill
Most adult jobs have at least some nonfiction reading involved in them. Office workers have to read and understand memos, business letters, and other office communication. Many jobs require workers to stay up-to-date in their field by continuing to read about and study different aspects of their jobs. A child who reads nonfiction will have less of a struggle when told to read nonfiction texts as an adult. When you read nonfiction with your child, you are teaching them a life skill that they will need.
Nonfiction Reading Can Be Interesting
Help your children see that nonfiction reading doesn’t have to be boring. There are many interesting nonfiction books out there for children these days. Find a subject that your child is interested in and let them look up books about it in the library. Order a magazine subscription for your child as a birthday or Christmas present. Scholastic News, Zoobooks, or Time for Kids are all great nonfiction magazines that your children will enjoy reading.
I am not trying to tell you that your child will love reading nonfiction. Not every child will like it. I am saying that it is important to read nonfiction. Once in a while, sit down with your child and read a true story. Your child will benefit from it.
What nonfiction books or magazines does your child enjoy reading?
Photo by Simon Blackley