To Boost Kids' Summer Reading, Let Them Choose the Subject and Genre

Monday, June 15, 2009

Many experts say kids should be allowed to read pretty much whatever they want in summer.

So parents should bag the list of books they want children to read, according to Richard Allington, an expert on reading at the University of Tennessee. That means the four-volume "Twilight Saga" by Stephenie Meyer or other popular books could supplant a Newbery Award winner.

More on reading from Allington:

How much?

The number of books children should read is less important than the time. A half-hour of reading a day is a good general guideline.

What to read?

Not just books. Magazines, graphic novels and comic books work. "There is no evidence that the genre of books makes much difference," Allington said.

How to choose?

Adults rarely pick books kids want to read. (In a study of books that librarians selected for awards and books that children selected as best books over a 30-year period, the overlap was only 4 percent.) So take the kids to a library or bookstore and let them pick.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company