Books open our eyes to a world of myriad hues and give endless sense of joy and discovery. But, It takes that one unique book which ignites our imagination and pleasure for reading, such that there’s no looking back.
The present article is the first in our series on “Older children and books”. The main aim of the series is to help parents understand how to ignite the love of books in older children.
The present article cites key characteristics of older children and enumerates important values of reading books. This knowledge will guide parents in selecting appropriate books for children. Of course there will be individual differences in maturity levels of children. Some of them may surpass the average level of reading set by their peers. Others may read below the set level.
Key characteristics of older children
The key characteristics guide us in selecting appropriate books for older children, with respect to their age, maturity and interests. They do not follow any order of presentation.
- The age range of older children is from 6 to 12 years.
- They are industrious, and often given to feelings of insecurity if they cannot succeed at their endeavors.
- They need guidance and emotional support from parents, in their daily life.
- They have increasing self awareness, knowledge of logical reasoning, scientific facts, and other learning at school.
- Their social interactions increase, to include friends and groups from school and their neighborhood. They like to have best friends.
- In the beginning, they like to have friends from their own gender.
- They adore their class teacher.
- Children are competitive and try to copy tasks and behaviors of their peers, with an aim to succeed at them. They also try to see how they measure up to their peers.
- They have started asserting power and control over their environment with a resolve to be successful.
- They read well and like to write stories.
- They have abundant physical energy which needs to be channelized by taking part in active sports, martial arts practice, dancing lessons or any other related activity.
Important Values of book reading for older children
The values do not follow any given order. Books;-
- Help understand and promote emotions such as sympathy and empathy. They also help in understanding others’ feelings.
- Offer knowledge of social and interactional skills as well as conflict resolution methods with others.
- Promote the use of imagination and creativity.
- Promote intellectual skills such as logical and creative reasoning, thinking, memory and imagination to name a few.
- Improve language skills and vocabulary and offer story writing skills.
- Have lot of varieties that help children gain knowledge and concepts in many disciplines/areas.
- Offer good role models in various fields.
- Improve concentration and promote yearning to make reading a habit.
Note:- There are also other values promoted by books, depending on needs and interests of children and individual differences between early and late maturing children.
Thus, Books play an important role in children’s lives. It is up to the parents to help and guide their children in selecting appropriate books.
The next article will dwell on parental role and guidance in igniting good reading habits in their children.