My kids love books. They love everything from classic hits like “The Cat In The Hat” to “Pete the Cat.” Well, at least they did.
Until they discovered “The Super Friends.” Now during story time, I don’t get very many requests for Dr. Seuss anymore. It’s all about Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.
For a while I didn’t mind the change in genre. After all, it never hurts to switch things up. But for the last few months it’s been all they want to hear. Every now and then I try and sneak in some other options only to be told “no” by them and met with yet another request for “Superman Saves Smallville” — not exactly considered a literary classic in most circles.
So, I started to worry a bit that perhaps our story time was going from fun and educational to just plain-old fun. Reading “Superman Saves Smallville” is still considered “reading,” but it just seemed wrong somehow to choose stories about comic book superheroes over classic children’s books.
Then I came across two great articles that changed my perspective on everything.
The first was a New York Times article entitled “Read, Kids, Read” by Frank Bruni. In the article, the writer talked about the importance of reading and how it positively impacts the brain. No big surprises there. Right? I know, but in the article he also mentioned something else — that research now shows that American kids are reading less.
The second article was by Dan Hurley from the U.K.’s The Guardian entitled, “Can reading make you smarter?” In it, the writer provided research showing that reading can actually make you smarter and claims that it made him smarter, too. He said that when he was 8 he couldn’t read and was labeled a “slow learner” by teachers. Then, he discovered a genre of books that caused him to read — all the time. By the following year, he became a straight-A student, and do you know what books he loved to read? Well, it wasn’t John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” He loved to read “The Amazing Spider-Man.”
Now, reading that made me very happy. You see, it really doesn’t matter if my kids prefer stories of the Caped Crusader to that award-winning “Pete the Cat.” What matters most is that they are happy when I read to them. And when I read the stories they love most, their eyes light up. They ask me questions about what the characters are doing and why they’re doing it. The superhero stories even inspires them make up their own stories (the latest being what happened to them when they were babies on the planet Krypton).
So, yes, story time for them is fun, and that is precisely what makes it educational. I see that now and I hope for them their love of story time will never end and they too will find themselves reading all the time as children and as adults.
Notoya Green is a parenting expert and former family law attorney. You can read her blog at www.triple
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