Sunday, May 05, 2013

On Pre-reading Your Children's Books

I meant to mention this as I was responding to a reader's query about proofreading pre-reading her children's books, but I forgot. I think it is something that may be helpful for all of us to remember, so, I hope you won't mind hearing a little unasked for advice.  Here it is:

If you are pre-reading books, don't read your children's books too far in advance. Years ago, I made this mistake, A LOT. I read several books that my oldest child would be reading two, three, three, and four years down the road. At the time, I couldn't possibly imagine my child being able to handle the ideas in some of these books. They seemed inappropriate for my sweet, little innocent daughter that I cherish more than my own life. Sooooo, being a little offended that such books were recommend on certain popular homeschooling book lists, I got rid of them. You know where this post is leading, don't you? Some of you more experienced homeschoolers are smiling right now.

Well, years down the road, I kept hearing about one of these books. "It is so wonderful, it is a 'must-read.'" I didn't understand this. I certainly didn't remember it being so great. Finally, I picked up the book again at a used bookstore. It was on clearance for a dollar so I bought it thinking it wouldn't be a great waste of money to give it a second chance. I took it home and reread it. This time, I liked it. In fact, I remember thinking, "Why, this book is really quite lovely. My daughter (now, three years older) will not only enjoy this tale, but benefit from these new and challenging ideas. Why did I ever think she couldn't?"

Folks, I began to reread and yes, rebuy those castaways. Are you laughing at me now? Go ahead. I'm laughing at myself. I learned a valuable lesson. Lindafay, don't read too far ahead because I can't accurately evaluate if my child can handle a book until my child is closer to the recommended age for that book.

Now, there have been plenty of books on booklists that were recommended by others but they simply didn't meet my family's standards of a worthy book FOR ANY AGE. I hope this is the case for you too, sometimes. A mother knows better than anyone else that her child is unique with unique experiences and callings. What may be appropriate for one child may not work for the other child. But sometimes, a book may seem inferior simply because we can't imagine our child older and with the maturity that is necessary to understand and benefit from it.

So my little advice today is try to pre-read your children's books as much as possible and at the appropriate time."

one step at a time...


  1. Anonymous5.5.13

    A very good point, but...'proofreading'? You had me pretty confused there for a bit. I think the word you want is 'previewing', or possibly 'pre-reading'.

  2. Ha! You are right. Certainly a more accurate way to express it.

  3. Your post may save me some headaches and regrets.

    I am so curious about knowing some of those titles you got rid of and had to reacquire! But, curiosity killed the cat. I better get the main idea.

    I can relate to the idea of growth and maturity. They get that when we are not looking, a bit like a growth spur, so one can never know! LOL.

    I have to read the other carnival entries, but thanks for calling me an "excellent CM educator", it made my day.

    in love,