Monday, April 28, 2008

The Soul of a Non-Fiction Reader

Young Children are not often encouraged to read non-fiction for pleasure. As a rule you will find more fiction stories and picture books stacked high in the class room than non-fiction. However, fiction is not a bad thing. I just think we should give Non-Fiction children readers a boost too. Enjoy the following article from Jessica Pegis.

Over the past few months, it's dawned on me that I'm raising a non-fiction reader. First she came home with a book about child rulers. Then it was a round-up of Greek mythology. Now it's something about how to scare yourself silly.

Lots of maps, time lines, and most critical of all: facts.

Since non-fiction is the only kind of reading I've ever been able to sustain, I have to admit I'm tickled. But I'm even happier about the smart teacher and cagey librarian who recognized the non-fiction gene in my daughter and encouraged her forward. Are you raising a non-fiction type? Here are some ways to tell:

Words, words, words Readers of fiction love the words on the page--what a word looks and sounds like; how one word looks sitting next to another; how an author used an image throughout a book. Non-fiction readers don't care. I repeat: they just don't care. Watch them glaze over when you say the word "motif."

Story schmory Non-fiction readers can't see the point of reading stories because once you've read one, let's face it: you've read them all. They don't get lost in what they're reading--they get lost in what they're thinking or doing.

Which brings us to. . .

Something to think about Non-fiction readers often gravitate to the theoretical and the logical. They like their books to give them the scoop on how stuff works and they need time to ruminate on it all. Or try it out. Or do something with it. Often the fun begins once the book is closed. (Kinesthetic learners, anyone?)

Periodical happiness Non-fiction readers will usually be kept amused with a steady supply of magazines and websites in their areas of interest. This reading material is often challenging but more to the point: the non-fiction reader will see it as relevant.

Mystery Inc. This is one fiction genre that is worth trying out on the non-fiction types. They will enjoy the process of assembling clues and trying to figure out the ending before the author does.

Lately, it seems that everyone (except, perhaps, the Texas State Board of Education) is encouraging kids to choose their own reading material. So if your child is bringing home lots of non-fiction, don't worry. It's all reading and it's all worthwhile.

And if those preferences last a lifetime, that's not only OK--it could turn out to be pretty interesting.

Jessica Pegis is an author and consultant specializing in learning resources kids. She is the mother of 10-year-old Simone, her sternest critic and loudest cheerleader. Sign up today for KidSmart, her FREE e-zine, by going to Tips, games, and other fun (and brainy) stuff to do with kids.

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