Engaging Kids via Christian Fantasy
Some Helps for Giving Guidance
I have heard parents and grandparents alike decrying the fact that their kids or grandkids have their nose stuck in their smart phones hour after hour and have no interest in reading. Sadly, for those kids it may be a little late to develop a love for reading. But, hey, you can try. Here are a couple of ideas for developing a love for reading. One for developing it in kids who are in fourth and possibly up through seventh or eighth grades (a number of factors involved relative to the latter), and a second for those below fourth grade.
A Love for Books: Idea One
When it comes to the older group mentioned above, developing a love for books depends a lot depends on family bedtime parameters. If there is no set bedtime, my idea has no merit. I used the idea when my sons were young (so it can work with boys as well as girls) and one of my sons has used the same concept. OK, so what is this “magical” concept? Well, it is not actually magical, but it does work with some kids. I do not guarantee it will work with all kids.
Here is the concept. If a kid’s normal bedtime is 8:30, offer to allow them a reading time beyond 8:30, say another 15 to 30 minutes (It is worth the extra time elements if it gets them reading). Also, offer the option of several good book for them to choose from and not just any old book. Good Christian fantasy will capture their imagination and as they get into it, it will give them a love for books and for reading.
Another option might be to offer an incentive to encourage reading. “Choose one of these book options, read it and give me a good verbal report on it and…” offer some incentive that will motivate them: financial, a movie, a special item they want from the store, etc. This option should be considered especially by those who have no set bedtime.
A Love for Books: Idea Two
Developing a love for books and a love for reading with kids below the fourth grade level depends on you the parent investing personal time in your child or children. Of course, for the reader below the fourth grade level the previous concepts can be used. However, the better approach is to take the time to read to and interact with your children.
With my boys I read to them every night possible. I made it a priority. I would read a portion of a story to them at bedtime and get any feedback they might have. At times I would ask questions like, “Why do you think Torin responded as he did to the dwarves of Marna?” (from The Helot) They loved having me read to them and looked forward to it, and to bedtime. No, “Oh, do I have to go to bed?” Plus, reading to them each night had a bonding impact. They knew that I as their father truly cared about them, that I was engaged. Reading to them has had lifelong benefits.
I can hear it now, “But I don’t have time to read to my kids!” Make time! Remember, people (your kids) are more important than things—including that TV show you want to watch. Giving them a love for books and reading is more important as well. You only have those kids for so many years, invest your life and time in them!
A Love for Books: Recommended Reading
There are lots of books out there for the really young kids, but as they get into school, first grade and on I would recommend the usual: CS Lewis Chronicles of Narnia; JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit; George Macdonald’s fantasy stories; and of course, John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.
Of the stories I have written I would recommend reading Once Upon a Knight, Unlikely Heroes, Tales of a Church Mouse, and possibly The Princess and the Orc to those at the elementary school level. For those above the elementary level I would recommend my Accidental Heroes series that begins with The Helot, as well as the Framer of Times series, The Myth, The Jewel, Moon Drale, and others. All of my books are written from a sound biblical worldview. Many of them are for older teens and adults. Take a look!
A list of my books and more info on them can be found at Amazon.
As always, your comments and feedback are appreciated.