When it comes to teaching our children, we often don’t utilize all of the opportunities we have in order to create the best learning environment for them.
One easy area to improve upon is to read with your children every night. While many parents already do this, they don’t always read the right kind of books.
Many children’s books are designed to be entertaining, but not necessarily informative.
Every Children’s Book Should Have a Lesson
The number 1 thing to keep in mind when selecting a book to read with your child is that every children’s book should have a lesson contained with it. Better yet if it fits into a broader plan you have for teaching your child fundamental principles about the world we live in.
Here are two examples.
A Wrinkle in Time
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, is a now classic children’s novel, famous for the easy to read way in which it deals with complex scientific topics.
The story follows a little girl who goes on a journey to attempt to find her father, a physicist who mysteriously disappears. Along the way, she discovers some of the basics about relatively and theoretical physics, including the hypothesis of time travel via worm holes, etc.
While no child would be expected to master these concepts, and indeed the book doesn’t go into a lot of detail on the “science” behind all of it, the premise is clear, and begin’s to prepare a child’s mind for scientific questioning about the world, and how that questioning can lead to remarkable answers.
Chronicles of Narnia
On the other end of the spectrum is the Chronicles of Narnia, or The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe series, by CS Lewis. While many educators disapprove of this book because of its clear Christian underpinnings, the broader point it makes isn’t really about Christ or religion.
On the contrary, the book teaches morality, leadership, and responsibility, and how to solve problems and make decisions when presented with a number of unknowns, in an environment that isn’t always familiar.
Think About Your Child’s Education
Regardless of which books you choose to read with your child, the point I want to make is simply that before you pick up the newest copy of a popular kid’s book at the store, think about what message or lessons that book includes with it.
What lessons do you want to be teaching your child, and how can developing a love of literature and learning help to instill those lessons?
That’s the real purpose of children’s literature.