Monday, April 18, 2011
Pre-reading for our kids' sake
If you've glanced over at my sidebar from time to time, you've noticed I have a daughter who is quite the reader. Her 2011 goal is to read 250 chapter books, and she just passed number 100.
For the most part, the books she reads are very innocent. They include titles from the Cam Jansen series, Babysitters Club series, and Judy Blume classics. But occasionally she picks up ones from the library I am unsure on.
She's only seven, so I want to make sure the things she reads are appropriate. If I've never heard of a book, I usually do a couple of things:
*Ask her how old the characters in the book are. If they are twelve or under, the content is usually (but not always) pretty clean.
*Flip through the book. The dialogue usually gives me some kind of an idea on the appropriateness of the book.
*Check the book out on Goodreads. I've found almost every book I've looked for on that site, and the reviews usually fill me in on a book's content.
*And if I'm still not sure, go ahead and read it myself.
She recently brought home a book called Stone Horse, which is in the Mustang Mountain Ranch series. She told me the main characters were sixteen and had boyfriends. For me, that sent up a red flag. I informed her I would be reading it first.
What did I find? A really enjoyable read.
The book was free of inappropriate language. It had a few elements that were a little scary, such as wolves hunting wild horses, but I thought she could handle those excerpts. My main concern was the boyfriend/girlfriend issue. There were only two references: one where the boyfriend kissed the girl's forehead and another at the end where they kissed (it spared the reader any details).
By reading it myself, I was able to determine that this book was fine for my daughter. I think it's important to put forth the time and effort to stay informed on the media choices our children make.
I've had friends ban the Captain Underpants series from their homes, and I know a few who don't let their kids read the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. (My daughter avoids boyish things like the plague, so she's never been interested in these books yet).
Have you ever pre-read a book before letting your child read it? If so, what ones have you had to say no to?
Posted by Maggie at 6:55 AM