September 11

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I’m Raising Fearless Readers Who Will Try Anything by Dena McMurdie

When my girls were small, I decided that I wanted them to grow up without any limits. I wanted them to dream big and not let society’s boundaries define who they are or what they can do.

 

I knew that if I introduced my kids to lots of ideas and subjects, it would help them gain confidence, learn more about themselves, and ignore the metaphorical lines in the sand. With that goal in mind, I set out to provide books for my children with strong characters and diverse topics. I encouraged them to read across multiple genres and try new things.

 

And do you know what? It’s working. My oldest daughter loves reading about outer space and dinosaurs, but she also enjoys fantasy and mystery novels. Recently, she discovered coding and wants to build robots when she grows up. My second daughter likes books about animals, babies, art, and gardening. She’s bursting with creativity and wants to be a fashion designer or an artist.

 

By encouraging my kids to read a wide variety of material, they’re open to new ideas and are willing to try new things. They’re discovering themselves and aren’t afraid to experiment. Best of all, they don’t see any limit to the things they can accomplish.

 

Here’s what I did (and am still doing) to raise fearless readers who will try anything.

 

Subscribing to a Children’s Book Box

I signed my kids up for a book subscription box called Little Fun Club. I chose them because they focus on sending the best books—both classics and newer titles—to their customers. Each box contains three books hand-selected for my kids based on their age and interests.

This is a good way to try different genres, discover new authors, and read amazing books we wouldn’t know about otherwise. A book subscription box helps my girls push past their comfort zone and read a diverse selection of books.

 

Attending Library Story Time

A good librarian is worth paying attention to. Often, they read books as they’re added to the library’s collection. They pull out the best books the library has to offer, then share them with patrons during story time. Topics can range from biographies and nature to humor and works of fiction.

 

There’s something contagious about the love of reading that radiates from a librarian. You can’t help but want to read the books they share. We discovered some of our favorite books by attending story time at the library.

 

Reading Children’s Book Blogs

One of the perks of being a book blogger is receiving so many interesting books for review. I receive dozens of books from publishers and authors, sift through them, and pick the best ones to feature.

 

Because other bloggers get different books than I do, I read their blogs too. If you want to quickly find new, unique, and memorable books to read with your kids, a children’s book blog will help you out.

 

Entering Book Giveaways

Giveaways can help you get your hands on new and interesting books for your kids for the price of a Twitter follow or a Facebook page visit. You can find giveaways on book blogs, Goodreads, and social media. Most book blogs will have a dedicated tab or section for giveaways. Blog and social media giveaways have fewer entries than large sweepstakes, so you have a pretty good chance of winning something.

 

Letting the Kids Pick the Book

I have an “open book” policy with my kids, which means they can bring home all the library books they want as long as they can carry them. Not every book is a winner, but this method helps my kids explore their interests and learn more about themselves.

When my daughter brought home the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees, I tried to suppress a groan. However, after she spent several weeks going on nature walks to learn about and identify local trees, my view of the book was much different. For my daughter, the book was interesting and educational. Best of all, it got her outside and into nature.

 

Leading the Way

Sometimes, kids need a little encouragement to step outside their comfort zone. Often, we’ll try new things together. By exploring new genres and various illustration styles, we’ve found some wonderful books that we could have easily overlooked. For example, my kids and I would never have discovered our love for comedy-horror books if we didn’t pick up Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom by David Neilsen and give it a try. That choice led us to a months-long reading binge of all the comedy-horror books we could find.

The more we experiment and explore, the more adventurous my kids become.

 

What are you doing to encourage your kids to try new things?

 

 

Dena McMurdie is the gal behind the children’s book blog, Batch of Books. She also writes for Brightly and Underlined. You can find her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.