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#1 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 01:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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my eight year old son is an avid reader! he lives for the library! here's the problem: it seems like we have gone through ALL of the 'good' book choices in the early reader through maybe 4th grade levels and he is getting sucked in to (in my opinion) kind of junky, series, TV-based chapter books (Scooby Doo, Captain Underpants, of course I cant think of them right now: ). I didn't mind the Magic Treehouse series or Cam Jansen or Arthur, etc. but I just go nuts when he wants to check these books out.

on the other hand, I am thrilled that he loves to read! and don't want to stifle it in any way. have any of you had to deal with a situation like this? Am I going overboard here? And most importantly, any good book suggestions????
Thanks!
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#2 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 01:45 AM
 
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I would let him read. Try to keep the "good" books around and available. I'm a total book addict and sometimes I read the good stuff and sometimes I get sucked into crap novels and detective...
Reading is for learning and for relaxing both. I remember doing the summer reading program in like 5 days at his age. books
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#3 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 01:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the reply. I try to remind myself of all the JUNK I've read in my life
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#4 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 02:51 AM
 
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I restrict- completely. There is so much crap out there disguised as literature. I didn't plan on being a censoring kind of mother, but when my 8 yr old brought home a book from the CHILDRENS section of the library called "Goodbye, Amanda the Good" about a "good girl" who is experimenting with sex and smoking and cutting class and being mean to her family- at 13 years old, i decided that was enough. I don't want my 8 yr old to empathize with characters whose main struggle in life isn't some major adversity, but their own lack of self control and sketchy morals.

I absolutely hate the Mary Kate and Ashley books because if my daughters were to emulate those characters, they'd be boy crazy, cheat at school, lie to their parents (all with the best of intentions, of course, becuase they're in love or they're trying to solve a mystery or something stupid like that.)

When they were smaller it was Junie B. Jones, what a brat. I gave those to my neighbor's kid, she couldn't have gotten any worse, in fact I think even Junie B herself wouldn't play with that kid- thank heaven she moved!

I cringe at magazines like seventeen and ym and teen beat, because I think they TEACH kids how to be superficial and consumers and their sappy "empathetic" advice columns only help girls justify being boy-crazy and immoral.

I think that reading garbage occasionally can make you better recognize quality literature when you find it. Reading trashy books all the time numbs your mind just like watching Howard Stern or the Simpsons nonstop.

There are plenty of things to do in life and constantly having your nose stuffed into fiction can really alter your reality a bit. I think it's a good idea to choose your reading materials wisely and allow time in between chapters, in between books to reflect and absorb what you've read and let the lessons and ideas become a part of you.

Shalom
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#5 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 02:54 AM
 
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and I totally didn't realize that boycrazy was the name of the person posting above me, I hope that didn't look rude. when I use the word boycrazy, I am referring to the little girls who are constantly wanting boys to like them, talking about boys all the time, always having crush upon crush on boys and acting like little sluts because that's what our commerial culture thinks is cool. I wasn't trying to personally insult someone- I'm sorry- eeek!
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#6 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 03:41 AM
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We unschool, and I've never restricted or censored Rain's reading. She was able to read books from the adult section by or 8, but she mostly reads comic books and scripts She did read some books that had sex scenes when she was 9, but she said she mostly skipped those because they were boring... I trust her to monitor her own learning, which includes chosing what she reads.

And "acting like little sluts"?!? Wow, pretty harsh words... it seems to be that most of the girls we've known who act like you describe need compassion and help, not ugly names thrown at them - even from a distance.

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#7 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 03:59 AM
 
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I wouldn't use the word restrict, but we do discourage most of the young reader type stuff. I'm honest with them about the fact that I don't think it is good writing and the subject matter is shallow. They respect my opinion (and dh's as well) and so they have never had much interest in those type books. Mostly we stick to classics, historical novels, and magazines that reflect our interests. My one son is a bit of a comic book lover and has a good size collection. If it was the only thing he was reading I think it might have bothered me, but he is an avid reader and has devoured Dickens and Shakespere over and over, so the comics aren't his sole diet of literature! It sounds like that might be the case with your son as well. I say steer him toward the good stuff and don't sweat over a bit of fluff in the mix!
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#8 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 10:16 AM
 
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We don't restrict reading material. My kids read a variety of stuff--my ds prefers non-fiction, and comic books, but likes fiction to be read aloud or through audio-books. My dd reads news magazines, and tons of fiction, along with some non-fiction.

She was really into series for a while--Junie B. Jones, Babysitter's Club, Magic Treehouse, Nancy Drew, etc. None were wonderfully written, imo, but she enjoyed them. She's now reading Treasure Island and has commented on how different the writing is from the "formula" books. She definately recognizes the difference in the quality of the dialogue, and the depth of the characters. Sometimes, when she's tired or just wants a quick read, she'll still pick the "fluff" books up, but overall, she's become more a more critical reader over time. (She's 9)

I haven't seen any harmful effects, and I believe that she should make her own choices. The closest I've come to anything resembling restriction was to inform her that the Goosebumps series was scary. (She was about 7 when she asked about them and didn't like scary stories.)

My own reading habits are a true mix of "real" literature and fluff.

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#9 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 10:32 AM
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I restrict the movies they watch, why shouldn't I restrict the books they read?

Don't get me wrong - my 2nd grader read Harry Potter so I'm not a prude. I mention Harry Potter because I think a lot of posters tend to think censor when they think restrict. I absolutely do NOT believe in censoring! I just monitor for content.

I really don't want my dd reading about adult situations anymore than I want her watching them. My 4th grader reads Jack London, (the kids series) Old Yeller - you name it - but he's not reading Stephen King. (Yet anyway).

And there is no way, my impressionable dd (follower) is getting her paws on ANY magazine!

You know - it's like with anything else - you have to have a balance. I don't personally believe that children should be subjected to situations before they have the skills to get their minds around it. JMHO!

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#10 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 10:43 AM
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Joan - you mentioned that you do not restrict and then said that you did not allow your dd to read the Goosebumps books. That is exactly where I am going with my post. That's what I do! I guess restrict is a little to harsh - but I do monitor for content based on where my children are developmentally. YKWIM?

Discourage - barbara's word. Good word.

Dar - I think it's great that Rain can read all that material. But just because she can read it doesn't mean she is comprehending it. I want my kids to read things that they can comprehend and make sense of. That of course is just my family - families are different

Shalom - try kids classics. My son is really into the Count of Monte Cristo - Treasure Island - White Fang - just to name a few - Oh! He loved 20,000 leagues under the sea and moby Dick.
Go to Half.com and do a search for illustrated classics. My dd loved Little Women....

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#11 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really appreciate all of your feedback. I agree in one way or another will all of you. I guess my most constructive question should be:

What are your favorite tiitles? Ocean is reading at about a third grade level (? I think). I can't even seem to select books for him. It really seems like he has read almost everything at his level and isn't quite ready for 'classics' and the like.
Please give me specific book names!!!

Also, any ideas on how to gently steer him away from what I call these "TV books" without making him feel bad for wanting to read them? I feel like this is often the case.

Thanks for your help
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#12 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 01:30 PM
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I promise ya! White Fang or Call of the Wild edited for children is great. I mean come on! It's got fights and struggles for death. He should love it!

Plus it's a classic..... My son reads on a 7th grade level but I'm pretty sure your son could get into these books.

How 'bout Harry Potter? It may seem contemporary but it is full of vocabulary that makes you think (a child).

I'll go through my kids bookshelves and post later. We constantly struggle for new exciting reading material here. What we do is pack up the old and take it to a book exchange.

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#13 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 02:06 PM
 
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I think a few junk books here or there are not a problem, but a steady diet of them is a disaster, IMO. My oldest ds was into the dreadful "Animorphs" series for a while, but since he read many quality books as well, I didn't get too upset about it.

I do restrict my children's reading somewhat. My dd was coming home from her school library with Scooby Doo books. I think it's outrageous that a school library would stock its shelves with books from crap TV shows and I've told dd that she isn't allowed to bring those books home anymore.

BTW, I know this is the homeschooling forum, but this is dd's last year in public school. She'll be homeschooled next year. Here's one reason why--at a recent meeting, held in the library, I noticed that *all* the books on display were junky series books. The emphasis at this school is all about *quantity* of books read, rather than quality. Why should I trust my child's education to people who can't see that these books are trash? A child who reads eight "Goosebumps" books is praised over the child who spent the same time period reading one quality book. That seems wrong to me.

The language in these junky series books is sloppy and inelegant with little variation in sentence structure. I'm paraphrasing "The Well Trained Mind" here, but these books are easy on the brain and when a child reads nothing but junk, s/he will not achieve the elegance of expression or excellent writing skills that reading really good books will give him or her.
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#14 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 02:12 PM
 
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Originally posted by daylily
I think a few junk books here or there are not a problem, but a steady diet of them is a disaster, IMO. My oldest ds was into the dreadful "Animorphs" series for a while, but since he read many quality books as well, I didn't get too upset about it.

I do restrict my children's reading somewhat. My dd was coming home from her school library with Scooby Doo books. I think it's outrageous that a school library would stock its shelves with books from crap TV shows and I've told dd that she isn't allowed to bring those books home anymore.

BTW, I know this is the homeschooling forum, but this is dd's last year in public school. She'll be homeschooled next year. Here's one reason why--at a recent meeting, held in the library, I noticed that *all* the books on display were junky series books. The emphasis at this school is all about *quantity* of books read, rather than quality. Why should I trust my child's education to people who can't see that these books are trash? A child who reads eight "Goosebumps" books is praised over the child who spent the same time period reading one quality book. That seems wrong to me.

The language in these junky series books is sloppy and inelegant with little variation in sentence structure. I'm paraphrasing "The Well Trained Mind" here, but these books are easy on the brain and when a child reads nothing but junk, s/he will not achieve the elegance of expression or excellent writing skills that reading really good books will give him or her.
I totally agree.
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#15 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 03:54 PM
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Originally posted by lab


Dar - I think it's great that Rain can read all that material. But just because she can read it doesn't mean she is comprehending it. I want my kids to read things that they can comprehend and make sense of. That of course is just my family - families are different
Why would you think she couldn't comprehend it? What would be the point of reading a book you didn't understand - well, schools make you do it, but as unschoolers it's just not part of our world...

Sometimes she asks me about stuff she's reading - she read "Troy" a year ago and there was some sexual innuendo she didn't get, so I explained it - and she does skim over stuff like "He held her slender body and she caressed his muscular arms, and pressed his lips over hers and tasted their warm sweetness...etc., etc". I mean, she gets that they made love, but skims over the details.

I really have issues with edited classics, but that might be a different thread. If you want to read fluff, read fluff, but reading dumbed-down classics seems pointless - you don't get to read the actual classic book, but edited classics generally don't work well as fluff-reading, either. I mean, the author out that many words in there because he thought they needed to be there, how dare some editor second guess him and take them out? Just MHO...

And if censoring isn't monitoring for content, what is it?

I read lots of books, and some magazines. Sometimes they're high-quality stuff - I just read Erewhon, that must count - and sometimes they're fluff - I read Jane magazine at the gym. Some weeks or months it's all pretty much fluff, because my energies are going elsewhere. Rain is the same way - during tech weekfor a show I try to find a few new Archies comics, because they're still her perfect fluff lit. And we're proficient readers... imagine how it would be for a reader who is still learning...

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#16 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 04:17 PM
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Dar - I think it's great that when your child was 8 years old she was reading adult books and comprehending them. My 8 year old dd reads well above her grade level but does not read or comprehend adult books (of course depending on the book!). The adult books that she could comprehend to me would be inappropriate. Simple as that. That is the beauty of all families being different. Just like I monitor the movies they watch, I monitor the books they read. Also, my children sound younger than yours and not quite ready to take on the world.

I recently tried to read White Fang to my children and it was just too violent and way too far above their heads. I ended up paraphrasing a lot of the book for them. My 10 year old enjoyed the book so much that he wanted to read ahead on his own. He was frustrated at the language and ready to give up so in order for him to enjoy the book and really get most of the content, I purchased the illustrated classics for him. Now he knows who Jack London is and hopefully when he is older he can really get into him based on what he learned as a young child.
To me, it's all about introducing something to them in a way that they can handle it. Everything is a about a balance really, isn't it.....

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#17 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 06:50 PM
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Originally posted by lab
Dar - I think it's great that when your child was 8 years old she was reading adult books and comprehending them. My 8 year old dd reads well above her grade level but does not read or comprehend adult books (of course depending on the book!).
How do you know whether or not she could comprehend them if she doesn't read them?

I guess I don't really divide books into Children and Adult books - Rain and I both read books from the picture books section as well as the adult section. The first adult-section book Rain read was The Princess Bride, as I recall. And I read "adult"books to her when she was little.

I think her first exposure to Jack London's works was a book on tape with To Build Fire on it, the unabridged short story. She liked it a lot, although it was intense. If she hadn't been enjoying it, if it had seemed over her head, I wouldn't have considered paraphrasing or simplifying or getting an edited version, because for me, the langauge and the words are what matter, not the story. I mean, we can read the Cliff's Notes versions of all of the classics in few weeks, and be done with them.. or we can wait until kids are ready to enjoy the books on some level at least - Rain liked Shakespeare long before she understood most of it, because of how the words sounded - and read short stories or poetry or things they do enjoy now.

I also think that *beause* she was allowed to read whatever she choses, she now choses a variety of things to read...

Oh and for Ocean, I think Roald Dahl's books are great! Rain loved them at about that age. Some are pretty long, but a lot are shorter. For shorter books, Rain suggests The Twits; The Witches; The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me; The Magic Finger; Esio Trot; The BFG. Rain says The Twits is the best, I loved Esio Trot.

Dar

P.S. Rain turned 11 last month. I am going for the mothering.com record for person who has been a member the longest without creating a sig file

 
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#18 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 06:52 PM
 
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Joan - you mentioned that you do not restrict and then said that you did not allow your dd to read the Goosebumps books.
No, I never said that I didn't allow her to read them. I just informed her that they were horror stories, since I knew that she didn't like scary stories.

She'd heard some kids talking about them, saying that they were good books, and mentioned to me that she wanted to check some out from the library. I never told her that she couldn't read them. She looked at the jacket of one of them and decided that she didn't want to.

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#19 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 08:04 PM
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Dar - sounds like we are on the same page. I probably am jumping the gun by letting the kids read edited versions of my favorite authors. Can't help it though! I'm such an avid reader I want to share it all ya know! My 10 year old is getting into Poe now and some other poetry. He thought he wanted to include The Raven in his poetry notebook until he learned he would have to summarize what it meant! And I introduced them to Shakespeare when they were around 2! Mostly my daughter rolls her eyes when I quote Juliet. :

I am sticking to my guns on adult books! By that I mean inappropriate books. Adult content etc. My ds was chomping at the bit earlier this year ( at 9) to read some of my old Stephen King books. I started to but just couldn't bring myself to give in. It's not that the book would be over his head, it's just the evil context and language. I can't wait until he is ready to read Talisman though - one of my favorites. Anyway, sounds like Rain is obviously more mature for her age then the average kid. Is she an only child? Onlies tend to do much more adult things. Or am I making assumptions again?

(Sorry Joan!)

Anyway, finding material for the kids to read is always a fun part of it!

Good Luck!

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#20 of 47 Old 02-25-2004, 08:18 PM
 
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Dar wrote:

Quote:
Oh and for Ocean, I think Roald Dahl's books are great!
I was going to suggest Dahl, but now I'll second him. There are lots of simpler middle readers he may be ready for (or ready for with a little help): the Littles, the Borrowers, E.B White, Beverly Cleary, Tintin. Eight is not too early to start the Lang colored fairy books, though again, he may need some help. That's off the top of my head. Non fiction might be a good place to turn for awhile at this point as well.
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#21 of 47 Old 02-27-2004, 12:40 PM
 
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Rain turned 11 last month.
Happy Birthday Rain!
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#22 of 47 Old 03-12-2004, 08:47 AM
 
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Have you talked to your child about this? I remember reading very adult books when I was young, and it was wonderful and disturbing. Some amazing and awful literature, things like "Bluebeard" or *Jane Eyre*. All great stuff, but awful 'cause I had no one to talk to about the content (I was in 1st and 2nd grade), and I've always been a sensitive reader, overwhelmed by complex stuff in fairy tales and books (like misogyny). Later on, in middle school, I would often read lots of the series books. It was a nice relaxing experience, not to admire writing style or reflect too much on content. I went through periods of reading nothing but young adult romance for weeks at a time and reading "literatooor" at other times. And sometimes just reading nothing at all, blanking out infront of the TV 24/7. Why not talk to your child to better assess what your child might need? Another thing to consider is to encourage other activities that might assist your child in discovering their own "literary sense," such as storytelling and writing.

Just some thoughts,
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#23 of 47 Old 03-12-2004, 09:37 AM
 
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Wow! Then I must sitting just to the right of conservative.

My children are not even allowed to have library cards. We used to have cards for the children. But one day, the library called and said that my dd had a book overdue. I asked what book and the librarian told me that she was unable to tell me. Federal legislation mandated privacy in this matter. Children could walk into a public library and checkout whatever book they choose. They couldn't discourage children into seeking any venue that they wanted to read about. And it is not my "right" to know what my children were reading.

So, no more cards for my children. One card, mine. You want a book, my card. And, no twaddle. Kid mystery-type (Clue) books are about as far into the public library system that I allow. I have homeschooled since 1993 so we do not have a shortage of books in this house.
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#24 of 47 Old 03-12-2004, 10:57 AM
 
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I remember ebing about 8 or 9 years old and looking for something to read because I had erad all of the kids' books in our house so many times. I searched through my mom's shelves and read whatever looked interesting (a lot of it didn't appeal to me.) She got those hardcover collections of condensed books from Reader's Digest and I used to erad a lot of those. Becasue that is such a strong memory I make sure all of our bookshelves are well socked with all kinds of books. DH and I don't read Stephen king so I have no worries about my kids finding those kinds of books. Our shelves are filled with poetry, classsics, theology, hundreds of good novels, many of them Canadian, general knowledge, mythology, books I have enjoyed at all ages.
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#25 of 47 Old 03-12-2004, 12:34 PM
 
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Originally posted by Shantimama
I searched through my mom's shelves and read whatever looked interesting (a lot of it didn't appeal to me.) She got those hardcover collections of condensed books from Reader's Digest and I used to erad a lot of those. Becasue that is such a strong memory I make sure all of our bookshelves are well socked with all kinds of books. DH and I don't read Stephen king so I have no worries about my kids finding those kinds of books. Our shelves are filled with poetry, classsics, theology, hundreds of good novels, many of them Canadian, general knowledge, mythology, books I have enjoyed at all ages.
Me Too!
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#26 of 47 Old 03-12-2004, 03:08 PM
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Rain has had her own library card since... well, since she wanted one, maybe 4 or 5. I wouldn't insist on knowing what she's reading, just like I don't insist on reading her emails or IM messages. Some things are personal, or private. I *trust* her. On the other hand, we do talk about almost everything, and she does generally tell me what she's reading, and if there are bits that upset her or she doesn't understand, she does generally ask me, or someone. One could say I trust her because she tells me things, I think it's more that she tells me things because I trust her

 
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#27 of 47 Old 03-12-2004, 06:21 PM
 
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My parents never really restricted my reading, except the summer after 1st grade my mother forbade me from reading picture books for the reading contest because it wasn't fair to the other kids. I had to read chapter books. I still won, lol.

I was always pretty good at steering myself away from fluff and junk. It just didn't hold my interest. I started forays into the adult side of the library at about 10, usually because there would be books by an author I liked after reading something in the kids' side of the library that I'd have to go to the adult section to find. Isaac Asimov, for example.

I didn't really understand everything I read--Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy went way over my head at 11, even though I could read it, but I did learn a lot by reading science fiction--about number theory, about physics, etc. I was never disturbed by adult content, just ignored it until I was old enough to find it interesting.

I remember reading, for example, Nancy Drew, and getting bored after 4 or 5 books and moving on to something else. It just wasn't my thing.

So I'd say don't worry about a certain amount of fluff. Don't spend money on it, but don't worry about it, either.

breastfeeding, babywearing, homeschooling Heathen parent to my little Wanderer, 7 1/2 , and baby Elf-stone, 3/11!

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#28 of 47 Old 03-12-2004, 09:04 PM
 
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Slightly ot:

My youngest just can't wait until he can have his own library card. (Our library's rule is that you have to be 5.) Actually, *I* can't wait for him to have his own card, because it'll free up room on MY card!

We usually use the card catalogue from home because the computers in the children's room now have filters on them. A major pain.

Do your libraries have filters and age minimums for cards?

Single Mom to 3 (12, 17 & 21)  luxlove.gif and dog2.gif.

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#29 of 47 Old 03-12-2004, 10:06 PM
 
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Originally posted by Joan
Slightly ot:

My youngest just can't wait until he can have his own library card. (Our library's rule is that you have to be 5.) Actually, *I* can't wait for him to have his own card, because it'll free up room on MY card!

Do your libraries have filters and age minimums for cards?
Same here, only DD has her own card already. She got it when she was three. She was excited to have her very own library card. As for filters, no, not that I'm aware of.
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#30 of 47 Old 03-13-2004, 03:17 AM
 
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One could say I trust her because she tells me things, I think it's more that she tells me things because I trust her
Well put! I agree that when children feel trusted and respected they are more likely to share their thoughts and lives with you. Adults are the same. I wouldn't share my private thoughts with someone I felt didn't trust me or respect my ability to make wise choices.
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