Reading Books Helps Kids Reduce Screen Time, From Toddlers To Teens | Lifestyles

JULIE MITCHELL

In the age of smartphones and tablets, I often feel that the pleasure of reading a real book is lost, especially among young people. Back in the days when we could eat in restaurants and fly on airplanes, I saw a lot of kids having fun on phones and iPads so their parents could have a moment of peace. It certainly makes sense.

But one thing I’m proud of as a parent is that my two kids in their twenties are still reading books in addition to tapping into their devices. Maybe it’s because they always saw my nose in a book, or because their dad and I were reading to them and we spent many rainy afternoons in the library. I don’t know, but I know that children still love books, especially little ones who can’t read on their own yet. So, I bring you this column on children’s books – not just a few titles, but also categories of children’s books – so you know what to look for.

For younger kids, babies and toddlers, hardback books – literally made of cardboard that can withstand teething, drooling, and sticky fingers – are the right choice. These sturdy, colorful books can be held in small hands and opened easily. Classics like “Sheep in a Jeep”, “Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree”, “Silly Sally” and Goodnight Moon “are just a few classics. Judith Rossell’s “Play With Your Plate” is a hardback book that lets little hands flip through the pages to select four foods from a wide selection to fill their plate.

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Picture books are larger and illustrated with sparse text intended to be read by toddlers and young people up to the age of about 5. Preschoolers love to hear these stories read over and over again and will also begin to browse on their own, appreciate the artwork, and “read” the story they’ve likely memorized. Some more recent picture books include “Black is a Rainbow Color” by Angela Jay and “Every Night is Pizza Night” by J. Kenji López-Alt. “Where are the Wild Things” by Maurice Sendak, “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf and all of the “Madeline” books by Ludwig Bemelmans have been around forever and are still very popular.

And in a category of its own are the books of Dr. Seuss; these whimsical and colorful titles like “One fish, two fish, one goldfish, one blue fish” are perfect for first-time readers; Seuss creations like “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Cat in the Hat” for children learning to read. But in my experience, children also like these books to be read aloud.

One book that may have special meaning for young children at this time is “And the People Stayed Home” by Kitty O’Meara, who wrote this book based on a poem two days after the World Health Organization. health has declared the COVID-19 epidemic a global pandemic. The former teacher and chaplain is focusing on some of the positive things people have done in quarantine like dancing. It is a calming and positive reading.

Once elementary school children get up to reading on their own, chapter books are short, with simple illustrations that can help early readers understand the text. Scholastic publishes a host of chapter books for elementary school children, including favorites like “James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl and “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame.

The good thing about chapters is that there are many shows like “Dog Man” by Dav Pilkey, “Junie B. Jones” by Barbara Park and “Nate the Great” by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. These sets get kids hooked on reading because once they finish one they are usually eager to start the next one. For older and more accomplished readers, the “Harry Potter” books as well as the “Ranger’s Apprentice” series by John Flannagan are ideal.

The next category, Intermediate Readers, sometimes referred to as “Tweens,” is intended for stronger readers and even those who read beyond their grade level. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry and “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen are old titles on hold: a few new titles include “Wink” by Rob Harrell whose seventh-year protagonist is battling a rare type of cancer of the stomach. eye ; and “Punching the Air” by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam, a verse novel that follows the journey of an unfairly imprisoned 16-year-old budding artist and poet. This book also falls under a category of books known as Young Adult or YA.

To confuse matters, the YA section is sometimes referred to as a “teenage girl”. YA books are aimed at children between the ages of 13 and 17, and most college kids are quite ready for them, and there are those in high school as well as adults who enjoy them. Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series consists of six books, the latest of which is “Midnight Sun” and is very popular. But classics like “The Catcher in the Rye” by JD Salinger are still read by teenagers today.

New versions of YA deal with topics such as racism and social justice. “Clap When You Land” by National Book Award-winning author Elizabeth Acevedo is a verse novel that deals with themes of grief, love and loss; two sisters, one in New York and the other in the Dominican Republic, are reunited with the news that their father has died in a plane crash. “The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person” by Frederick Joseph offers candid reflections on his own experiences with racism and also conversations with artists and activists about their own.

As always, this column is intended to be informative but not exhaustive. Bookstore staff can point you in the right direction for finding books for kids of all ages, and a good book can convince even the most skeptical new reader that reading can be a lot of fun.

WATCH NOW: HOW TO READ MORE BOOKS EVEN WHEN YOU’RE BUSY

Reading a book can be a great way to mark the end of the work day and help you relax.



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Julie Mitchell is a resident of Calistoga and a lifelong book lover. She holds a BA in English / Creative Writing from Stanford University and an MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco.

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