Reading Tip: Raising a Well-Read Child

As human beings, we will have preferences for particular genres (book types/text types) depending on our interests and strengths. Give me a choice of books to read and I’ll almost always choose junior or young adult fiction. What about you, what genre do you most enjoy reading?

Having said that, exposure to a range of genres(see the end of the post for a list of children’s genres) is extremely beneficial to our children as readers and writers:

  • It can help children develop their appreciation of all book types

  • It can expose children to a wider vocabulary, and to the different ways in which language can be used and constructed

  • Being exposed to various uses of language can help children to understand a range of  purposes and meanings in texts. In turn, this will develop their comprehension skills

  • It can help children become versatile and adaptable readers

  • It can allow children to develop interests in a range of areas

Of course, all children (and adults) go through phases. At different times they will be drawn to different genres depending on their interests, what their friends are reading, what their current topic is at school, who their favourite author is, how particular books make them feel and also how successful they feel as a reader.

It is extremely important to let children have a role in choosing the books they read, but as parents I also think we can encourage children to try new books. You never know what the outcome could be. For example, I’d generally say that I’m not a fan of fantasy, so I must admit that I wasn’t personally enthusiastic about reading Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone when my younger sister first asked me to read it to her. Boy, were my first impressions wrong. I’m not sure that a series of books has had a bigger impact on me than the Harry Potter series.

We can be role models and let our children see us reading a range of genres, even when our children are quite young. As a mother breastfeeds her baby she can read a novel, or a father can read the newspaper aloud while his son sits on his lap.

Keeping a visual record of our reading choices can help us to track our reading patterns and our natural preferences for books. It can also highlight the genres we might neglect.  Below is a fun printable you can use to keep track of the genres you are reading with your children. Older children might even like to be in control of keeping the record themselves.

The puzzle allows you to make a game out of trying new books. It doesn’t need to be followed strictly or completed in a tight time frame. This process, I’m sure, will lead to some great conversations with your children about what constitutes a particular genre.

GENRE PUZZLE PRINTABLES

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  • Depending on the age of your child you can either use this puzzle yourself or talk to your child about each piece of the puzzle. After you read a book together, think or talk about what the genre of the book might be and colour that piece of the puzzle (or you could place stickers in each piece of the puzzle).

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  • Print and laminate the coloured puzzle. Cut out the puzzle pieces and place them in a jar. Randomly choose a piece from the jar. Head to the library to borrow a book of that genre. The aim is to put the puzzle together.  As you read each genre you add the piece to the puzzle until it is complete.
  • The blank puzzles below have been created for you so that you can customise it to suit the age of your child. Below is a list of genres you could use.

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Children’s Literature Genres.

  • Humour/Comedy
  • Adventure
  • Mystery
  • Fantasy
  • Comic
  • Newspaper
  • Information book
  • Magazine
  • Newsletter
  • Wordless
  • Picture book
  • Chapter Book
  • Fairytale
  • Cookbook
  • Fable
  • Biography
  • Autobiography
  • Play script
  • Choose your own adventure
  • Short stories
  • Junior Fiction
  • Young Adult Fiction
  • Historical Fiction
  • Science Fiction
  • Travel
  • Poetry
  • Reference
  • Concept (eg. numbers, colours)

Let me know if I’ve forgotten any!

Thanks to Hanto of DeviantART for use of the original puzzle outline

Reading Tip: Raising a Well-Read Child

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  1. I’ve never read a non-fiction book with the cherubs, but my younger daughter was given one recently, and they both really enjoyed the layout- very visual with text boxes with different fonts. They also love my cookbooks, and my older daughter is just beginning to understand how the text relates to the images.

  2. Your question as to preferred genre would take me a week – wouldn’t it be fun for us to meet over a coffee and chat! Succinctly though, I love children’s picture books, YA fantasy, recipe magazines, Art books, poetry and humour.

    I would add graphic novels to your list – anime and manga and the rest.

  3. What a great idea! I am going to print out the black & white version and get Miss 5 to colour in the puzzle pieces before (or after) we cut them out. Miss 9 might want to join in as well (hope so!)

  4. PS – Miss 9 has just started reading the first Harry Potter book. I must admit I haven’t read any of them (only seen a few of the films too). Might have to borrow a copy from the library (should be plenty of copies of the first one available nowadays).

  5. What a great post. Very informative and helpful. I love the puzzle idea!

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