Am I doing my 3 1/2 year olds a disservice? Regarding books - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 03-20-2013, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have many, many books (thank you Goodwill and those parents of good taste who donate!) It's hard for me to put up old favorites even as they are enjoy more complex tales. So we still enjoy the odd Sandra Boynton or Very Hungry Caterpillar and the like. Should I start putting away the old simple books even though they still enjoy them? I was reading on a gifted and talented preschoolers board that the other mothers are reading chapter books to their kids already. My kids certainly seem very bright - thye are starting to read/add etc - but at three this seems like too much to me. It seems these parents are going in a completely different direction than I am. I'd rather enjoy The Sleep Book, The Duchess Bakes a Cake, Harry the Dirty Dog etc for a while more. Personally, I do want to put the simpler books up but feel like if they enjoy them (my daughter loves curling up on my bed and "reading" them), why push it? I was not pushed through my childhood and still ended up doing well academically.

 

What are your thoughts? I have removed the very simple board books but the ones with story lines remain in rotation currently.

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#2 of 20 Old 03-20-2013, 12:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MobiusStrip View Post

We have many, many books (thank you Goodwill and those parents of good taste who donate!) It's hard for me to put up old favorites even as they are enjoy more complex tales. So we still enjoy the odd Sandra Boynton or Very Hungry Caterpillar and the like. Should I start putting away the old simple books even though they still enjoy them? I was reading on a gifted and talented preschoolers board that the other mothers are reading chapter books to their kids already. My kids certainly seem very bright - thye are starting to read/add etc - but at three this seems like too much to me. It seems these parents are going in a completely different direction than I am. I'd rather enjoy The Sleep Book, The Duchess Bakes a Cake, Harry the Dirty Dog etc for a while more. Personally, I do want to put the simpler books up but feel like if they enjoy them (my daughter loves curling up on my bed and "reading" them), why push it? I was not pushed through my childhood and still ended up doing well academically.

 

What are your thoughts? I have removed the very simple board books but the ones with story lines remain in rotation currently.

 

Read the books that you and your children enjoy. Don't worry if they are too simple or too complex. If they are either, then the children probably won't enjoy them, won't want to read them and you'll have your answer. 

 

Unless you have limited shelf space, there's no reason to put away books. My dc often re-read old favourite picture books long after they were independently reading chapter books. They also liked to try to read chapter books long before they were really able to but they enjoyed the challenge of trying to decode as many words as they could, get a sense of the story and figure out some of the action. 

 

There are a lot of good reasons for children to read a mix of books even as they become independent readers. Simpler books allow them to practice decoding and gain fluency and confidence. Longer books with more text allow them to develop attention and comprehension skills. Books with no text at all give children a chance to develop their own creative storytelling. 

 

Most children like longer, more complicated stories long before they are able to read independently. Sharing fun and exciting chapter books as readalouds is cherished family time for many parents and children. No pushing involved. 

 

My thoughts are that you shouldn't rely too heavily on purported reading or age levels when you are stocking your children's bookshelves. Instead, use their interest and enjoyment as your guide. 

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#3 of 20 Old 03-20-2013, 12:29 PM
 
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Part of the joy of having books that they know and love is that they can "read" them to themselves. There's nothing wrong with introducing more books with more complex stories, but there's no harm in leaving their favorites out.

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#4 of 20 Old 03-20-2013, 12:41 PM
 
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Kids love having books they know well read to them - especially kids who are in the stage where they're recognizing some words, letters, etc. It helps them learn to read. Keep the picture books! My 11-year-old, who learned to read just before she turned 4 and is in the gifted program at her school, still loves picture books, and still loves me to read them to her sometimes.

 

Chapter books are fun too, but picture books shouldn't be put away.

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#5 of 20 Old 03-20-2013, 01:03 PM
 
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i'd leave em out unless you are cramped on space then i'd go through and only keep the faves. i find that now as adult i like having an easy book to read during or after i've read something more intense. i'm still working my brain but not as intensely and it is relaxing. :)


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#6 of 20 Old 03-20-2013, 01:30 PM
 
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Yes to all of the above!  We have left out all of our children's books, even the shapes and alphabet picture books for babies.  Our DS (3yo) now shares these with his bears and dolls!  And he is more apt to grab a book that he knows by heart backward and forward (Brown Bear, What's Wrong Pookie, or Goodnight Moon, for example) and read to himself or his bears than he is if these options are not available.  He loves when we read him longer and more complex stories, but hasn't absorbed them in the same way yet that he has his old favorites.

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#7 of 20 Old 03-20-2013, 04:57 PM
 
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I kept the simple books out because my DD would sit and pretend to read them and that is an important prereading skill. Mostly though it was because she liked the and i let her choose what to read so she would enjoy reading. I introduced her to chapter books too but viewing books and reading as enjoyable seemed much more important long term. She is ten now and loves to read so i wouldn't change that.
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#8 of 20 Old 03-21-2013, 08:15 AM
 
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My girls enjoyed both chapter books and those books you mentioned.  It was a bit strange moving from Pippi Longstocking, Harry Potter, even the LOTR to Boynton's Barnyard Dance, but it worked here so there was no need to change it.  No one ever told them it was anything other than normal.  I didn't put them away even when they seemed less interested, and in not too long they started picking them up again to practice reading.

 

ETA:  You are not doing them a disservice.  I was well aware my daughter had listening skills atypical for her age.  We loved those books and still do at times, even at 6 and 8.  Go with what they love-- try not to mind what others are doing.


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#9 of 20 Old 03-21-2013, 08:35 AM
 
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I love to re-read favorite books myself. Always have :)

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#10 of 20 Old 03-21-2013, 08:53 AM
 
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Agree with everyone! My 8yo loves to look at board books with his 1yo sister (for reference, he reads independently to himself long chapter books-- Harry Potter, etc). My almost 4yo still likes "baby" books and those more complex. I'd just keep your favorite "baby" books around and cull the less interesting/appealing/engaging ones.

It's actually been so nice with the younger sibs-- I feel like the olders have "permission" to enjoy the "baby" books for longer.

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#11 of 20 Old 03-21-2013, 03:51 PM
 
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Agree with everyone! My 8yo loves to look at board books with his 1yo sister (for reference, he reads independently to himself long chapter books-- Harry Potter, etc). My almost 4yo still likes "baby" books and those more complex. I'd just keep your favorite "baby" books around and cull the less interesting/appealing/engaging ones.

It's actually been so nice with the younger sibs-- I feel like the olders have "permission" to enjoy the "baby" books for longer.

 

I think it's good for their confidence to get to be the story teller, instead of just being read to. My 11 year old isn't an enthusiastic reader, but his teachers have always said reading is reading, whether it's the back of hockey cards, comic books, or a recipe. Both my kids like reading baby books (to the baby... whether she's listening or not)

 

emmaegbert, I was just at the park today with my 3 and had a moment of sadness that my 11 year old might be outgrowing the activity (at least with me) but then I realized he's going to get drug to the park for years to come, because of the baby. He had his picture taken with Santa "so Stephanie won't be scared" ... it's kept them young a little longer, having a baby around.


~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#12 of 20 Old 03-21-2013, 04:23 PM
 
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Mostly I've put away all the Thomas the Tank Engine books, since the writing is so poor, and thankfully ds1 isn't interested in them anymore and ds2 hasn't expressed any interest in Thomas.  I love shopping at Goodwill too for books ... I may have an addiction...I love getting all kinds of unusual books that you don't always find in the library...although somehow we also end up coming home with a ton of books from the library too.  Ds1 is 5 and we read chapter books together (Magic Tree House level), but the font is too small for him to really sit down and read them by himself...and there's just too much info for him to read more than a page or 2 if he's reading without my help, so while he enjoys them reading together with me, he never picks them up by himself.  However, there are the picture books that are mostly by ds2's bed, that he will pick up and read on his own, sometimes to ds2.  I don't see any reason to put books away unless the kids don't like them (and me also :).

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#13 of 20 Old 03-22-2013, 05:39 AM
 
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Also, not every three year old likes chapter books. My six year old, who has tested as gifted, didn't like them until she was four, and her younger brother, who is three, only likes the Magic Tree House series. Both children still like picture books, and that's mostly what I read to my three year old.

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#14 of 20 Old 03-24-2013, 06:16 AM
 
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Picture books often use much more complex language than beginner chapter books.  Beginner chapter books (Magic Treehouse style) are written for kids to read to themselves (although many people enjoy them as read alouds).  However, picture books are intended for adults to do the reading.  Picture books often use words that wouldn't be included in a book for kid to read alone.  

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#15 of 20 Old 03-26-2013, 06:13 AM
 
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I don't see anything wrong with leaving out books your kids are enjoying! Really, it would be kind of silly to put them away just because others have done so.

We did put the board books away when DS was 2 or 3, because he lost interest in them. He is the kind of kid that loves to sit & be read to for hours & hours on end. So he craves longer stories & chapter books. But I still have some board books in the basement, thinking that maybe when he wants to learn to read he might enjoy practicing on them.

Also, a lot of our friends read chapter books to their kids, but it's in addition to (not instead of) the simpler books. I do have one friend that forces his kid to listen to chapter books even when she isn't interested, and that rubs me the wrong way, but he is also generally anxious about making sure his kid is 'academically advanced' so that's just his thing I guess. You know what your kids like, so go with it. Life is too short to be unhappy or worry about "doing it wrong." Books will not screw up your kids. smile.gif

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#16 of 20 Old 03-26-2013, 11:50 AM
 
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books are not just about reading. there are some that have less words but great pictures. and dd would make up more stories from those pictures than what was written on them. some of the illustrators would add little quirks to the pictures and we'd look for them. 

 

its the illustrations too. we STILL even at 10 go through some of her wonderfully illustrated board books and more. 


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#17 of 20 Old 03-26-2013, 08:18 PM
 
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I just wanted to add that books without words are also really wonderful. Many non-readers find themselves free to tell the story in their own words when they don't feel tied to the text.

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#18 of 20 Old 03-27-2013, 06:48 PM
 
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Reading to your child and exposing them to the wonderful world of books is a great thing. Don't ever feel bad about reading something that could be thought of as for a younger child. Every child reads as their own time. The best thing a parent can do is make reading as fun and positive as possible so that it is an activity they will want to do and have the confidence to do.
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#19 of 20 Old 03-30-2013, 04:58 PM
 
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"Should I start putting away the old simple books even though they still enjoy them?"

 

No! Keep the favorites around. We still love Jamberry (a board book) and my kids are all school-aged, except for the baby.


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#20 of 20 Old 04-02-2013, 12:09 PM
 
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I agree-- leave out at least the favorites if you can. Even my -teenage- DC love to read all our favorites & it has the added bonus of being able now to recite most of, say Squirrel Nutkin or Child of Fairy, Child of Earth, etc to young counsins. We did read unexpected books aloud at a young age also, like The Old Man and the Sea, etc-- they just get more out of it as they mature. Even my preschool children appreciated the subtle humor of Dickens, and also the out and out silliness of Roald Dahl.

 

If they enjoy it, there is some benefit; even if it is only more encouragement that reading is a positive thing.

 

It's great that you are being so mindful and proactive re what you expose the young minds to!

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