Stories for children should be of all kinds—folktales, funny, exciting, astounding stories, and tales of every day life.
An essential step in language acquisition and learning to read is hearing good books read aloud. Parents and teachers who read aloud to children are teaching literacy concepts by the act of sharing a good story. Listening to a story allows children to ponder, make comments, and ask questions. It allows the word, the reader, and the listener to connect in unique ways.
Be flexible enough to leave a book that doesn’t interest. This doesn’t mean the first paragraph or the first page. If it’s a chapter book give the story 2 to 3 chapters to develop. This is especially true of science fiction or fantasy. The author needs the time to develop the setting and characters. If it’s a picture book give the story 2 to 3 pages. After that if the child is still not interested, leave the book behind. Not every book is meant for every child. We want children to enjoy books, not suffer through a story that bore them.
Even after children learn to read on their own they still enjoy having a story read aloud. Hearing a good story read well, is an excellent way to encourage independent reading. Children can generally hear and understand vocabulary and story complexities 2 grade levels above their reading level. Not every book are best read aloud. Some books are perfect for a quiet read. There are many books that are perfect for reading aloud, perhaps before bedtime or at the end of the school day. Many times children will hear a story and then want to read it for themselves.
Don’t be afraid to ask your child to bring other ideas to the story. Ask them to write or draw a different ending to the story, how a character felt during a scene, or create a 3-D representation of a poem. My youngest son loved making book covers. He would take construction paper, crayons, and glue and make a new picture for the front cover and then write a review on the back of his book jacket. In this reading, writing, art activity his love of literature was strengthened.
Children want to read what makes them laugh, cry, shiver, or gasp. They enjoy stories that reflect what they have felt. How did a story character deal with a particular situation? They long to live through the adventures of the characters. Poetry allows children to hear playful language. For children, reading must be enjoyed in a world of imagination, wonderment, and emotion.