Bridging the Genres of Children's Literature © Dawn Riccardi Morris
I'd like to refine my vision of the two islands I mentioned the other day. One was for children who like to read, and the other was for children who think they don't.
So, let me just ask: which island do you think the stick figure above would live on? She notices the different genres of children's literature, but doesn't seem to know which one to try.
Is she the avid reader, or the reluctant reader?
Either way, the child is perplexed by the many choices of reading materials. Having sorted out the different categories, however, will make that choice that much easier. Otherwise, the book selections resemble a huge pile of puzzle pieces.
If you think the stick figure is the avid reader, I would tend to agree. Although, it could be a reluctant reader on the verge of reading more often. She might have just landed on the island of readers!
So, I envision the island of reluctant, or non-readers, to have random piles of books lying around. I didn't say they didn't have access to any books! But would you be motivated to read if the books were not organized in some manner?
The island of readers, on the other hand, has books separated by genre, author, subject, popularity, etc... Since the overwhelming number of puzzle pieces has been sorted, the puzzle is ready to be put together - one piece (or one book) at a time.
The bottom line is that sometimes, having too many choices can actually be a bad thing. The frustration can cause a person to turn away completely.
So, if someone were to help the reluctant reader to sort out the books first and narrow down the selection, it's more likely that she would take a major step toward becoming a reader.
I'm not saying that it's an easy process. It's not. And to make it more complicated, not every child will like the same books. That's why getting to know a child, and what his interests and hobbies are, is another important piece of the puzzle.
One size does not fit all readers, nor does any one genre. That's why it's important to try different ones.
Which one will the stick figure pick? Your guess is as good as mine. It doesn't really matter. The bridges are already built. All she has to do is pick one to walk across. And if she doesn't like what she sees (or should I say, reads?), there's always another direction to go in. The key is to keep moving.
Without the bridge, it's hard to get off the island. You'd just be going in circles.
All the more reason to build one.
You can find part 6 here.