I do not wish to re-invent the wheel neither am I the “fountain of all knowledge”. Many parents may feel it is just common sense where to go to get good reading material for their children but some parents, especially those who are busy working parents, seldom have the time to think of sources for recommended reads for their offspring and, unless a book is sent home with the child, or other people recommend books or publicity about a new children’s work of fiction is blasted across the television screen or more than likely, a book has been converted into a film, it is highly unlikely parents will even know or notice new works of fiction. I feel sure that part of the reason why certain novels became so popular is because they were exposed to a world wide audience. Such novels as the Harry Potter series, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, the Series of Unfortunate Events; even Percy Jackson and the Twilight Series have their own following and fan club due to their conversion and the power of the Silver Screen. That does not by any means denigrate the quality of the writing; on the contrary the films can be a wonderful persuasive tool: “Enjoyed the film; now read the book”
I do know of one or two places parents can go to for sources of recommended reading material.
- Your child’s English teacher. Send in a letter or a note in your child’s journal or planner (In secondary schools most children are provided with a planner, diary or journal. Different schools call these books different names.) This book is useful as one of its purposes is to act as a communicator between you the parent and the school and there is a place for you to write in any of your concerns on a weekly basis. The school should pick up on it and communicate back via the planner (journal/diary). So write in asking your child’s English teacher for a list of recommended books for your child to read. If the English department does not have a list then ask the teacher to recommend another source.
- Certainly from my own experience as a teacher at parent’s evenings there is always an opportunity for parents to discuss with me the kind of material their child should be or is currently reading. So use this opportunity of parents’ evening to discuss your child’s reading development and books.
- Write requesting if the school runs any reading or book clubs for your child to join. This is a good way of children forming friendships linked to a common appreciation of novels and encouraging your child in their development of their reading
- The School Librarian is always a mine of information and she may have a list of recommended books which she will gladly give to the pupil. In the unlikely event that the school librarian does not have a list of books, she may have a range of books in stock which are popular – these she may recommend depending on the interests of your child. Popular books tend to be out on loan but have no fear, like the public libraries most school libraries are able to reserve books for pupils.
- Speaking of local libraries you as parents can be pro-active and visit your local public library. Speak to the library staff in charge of the children’s section of your local public library. Library staff are always eager, helpful and keen to encourage new, young prospective members. They can usually supply lists of recommended reads sometimes in the form of a book mark. Library staff during the holidays run all kinds of interesting reading challenges and activities to encourage young readers. Find out what is happening on your area. There is always plenty of publicity prior to the holidays. Go on your local library websites as it is quite useful.
- There are also many useful and dedicated websites for children which, not only supply a brief but informative synopsis of children’s novels but also gives useful information on appropriate age range, genre detail etc.
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