Over on the I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids) blog, Linda Salzman has posted a discussion about a little controversy surrounding the value of non-fiction books, and in doing so she relays her experiences working and talking with elementary kids about their reading habits. She shares some funny and enlightening observations including this one:
“Kids think they are supposed to like everything, no matter the quality.”
But there are a lot of books out there that really are boring or ugly or just un-interesting to kids, and I agree with Linda’s assessment that it’s OK for them to say so. As a former school librarian, I watched kids turn away from books for a number of reasons – the cover was dull, it had too many pages, not enough pictures, or the writing was simply boring. But allow kids to select a non-fiction book on a topic of interest to them and suddenly there was a group of kids all gathered around it, reading aloud, and chatting about facts and figures. If it’s well-written and illustrated, kids will love it.
Take a look at Linda’s post. The kids’ quotes and her perspective are worth your time. I love how the kids offered creative ways to improve a boring non-fiction biography that she read to them. What a great way to get them interested in writing.