Let them read what they want Children choosing to read is something that lots of parents wish would just happen. That their child would devour book after book and they would struggle to keep up with their reading demands. For most of us though, it doesn’t work like that. Having a child who just doesn’t seem interested in reading is something that parents often stress over. The pressure they put on themselves along with pressure from school, the media and other parents who claim their kids have ‘read all the books in the library’, can push a parent in the wrong direction. You see, when people talk about reading, they often get fixated on fictional chapter books and believe that if children aren’t choosing to read novels then they aren’t really reading for pleasure. And this is unhelpful thinking because lots of children already view reading as a ‘not very cool thing to do’ and, by alienating them from other types of reading, it reduces the chances of them finding something that might actually spark an interest. We asked some acclaimed children’s authors to talk to us about their own, personal experiences with reading and this is what they said… You may or may not have noticed that all of our authors were men, talking about their own reading as boys. Comics, travel books, picture books, ‘how to’ books, books from a T.V. series or film - all of the authors talked about their enjoyment coming from choosing to read books that had a value to them. Not books that other people thought they should read. Statistically, boys are less likely than girls to choose to read in their free time and boys place less personal value on reading. They often see reading as something they are forced to do for school so by offering books they’re less likely to find in the classroom, you can help them make a distinction. Give permission for them to read whatever they choose and show an interest in what they are reading – even if it is copy after copy of Doctor Who!