Are they reading beyond their years?
There’s so much debate these days about screen time. You don’t have to go too far on the internet to find an article talking about how much screen time is too much. Not to mention articles about monitoring what they are exposed to. On the flipside there is a huge focus on reading, holiday reading programmes and challenges, and parent teacher interviews where we discuss their reading levels. I’ve had many an anxious moment around reading because my eldest doesn’t really read for pleasure yet.
There is no doubt that reading is an important skill. Just as you need to be able to read contracts, menus, instructions; you also block yourself from years of leisurely losing oneself in a book as an adult if you can’t read.
While it’s important to read, the question of what they are reading is also important. Some books are going to be more suitable for your child than others. Speaking as someone who was an advanced reader by intermediate school, I can say that sometimes the things I was reading suited my reading level (I was 11 reading books for 15+) but not where I was maturity wise. I was a very young and naïve girl, reading books that often involved violent and sexual scenes. These often left me feeling quite confused.
Vetting your child's books
A few of my friends vet the things their kids read or want to read. This seems quite reasonable to me. One friend has her daughter’s wish list and works through the books in advance to make sure they are suitable. Where a book isn’t suitable, they talk through the reasons and my friend tries to find her an alternative but more suitable book. I think this is better than an outright no.
My daughter gets too tired reading more than a page or two at a time. So often I will read a novel with her in the evenings. She has selected a few of the books that we read, and there have been one or two times when I have partway through thought, "this is not suitable". Usually it’s because the concepts are too mature. If that happens, I either stop reading and suggest a different book (I try to give her the reason too), or if I’m reading solo I will “edit” the story as we go. I’m sure most parents have “edited” a story before!
Do you monitor what your kids are reading?