5 Tricks That Help Grasp The Attention Of Young Readers
Good Reads For 7-10 Year Olds
- Junie B. Jones
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid
- Harry Potter
All of the above mentioned books are a part of a series.
Get Familiar With Your Audience
Well everyone talks about writing to appeal to your audience. Writing to please children takes some work and research if success is the hope for your future. Yes, children are a unique group of readers and writing to their likings may be a bit different. I also recognize that when I say child or children one may ponder what age groups am I actually referring.
For this particular piece I am aiming toward middle childhood - ages 7 to 11.
This age group speaks to children that have a good concept of reading but also takes some training to keep them focused. Ages above and below have distinctly different abilities. Children at this age group are beginning to put the pieces together about the world and are learning how the world works for them. They have the ability to see themselves independent from their parents. Being able to grasp that separation, children in that age group can imagine themselves in the story as they read.
It take energy and creativity to captivate the attention of the young reader. Basically you are working for your money.
1. Be Concise
Quite honestly this step may go over well with more that just children. Most of us want to just zoom right through and find information that is appealing. But writing concisely for children may look a bit different.
Concise writing for children means the reduction of theoretical concepts. Children do not develop the ability to understand abstract ideas until around the age of 7 to 9 years old.
So work to avoid topics and terms that pull for the use of adult like imagination. A child that age may not be able to put together that “a bird soaring high above” means “a bird is flying high in the sky.” Nothing new was introduced in the second phrase but abstraction was removed. Yet, using the first can do the trick when using pictures and frames of reference so the child can comprehend the intent of the writer.
2. Use Imagination and Pictures
Clearly this helps children improve their ability to comprehend complex concepts and to work toward understanding abstraction. If they can put a new term with a photo then they are more likely to understand that term when used again. Children like fantasy and the unimaginable.
Why do you think children are so creative?
Take a peak at cartoons they are full of imagination, colors and abundantly animated. They remain entertained due to the creativity that grabs their attention right when they become bored or lose interest. Even adults have a hard time walking away from some cartoons. I have found myself in that trap. No worries sit still and focus on what attracts the children.
3. Write In A Conversational Voice
Coming across in a relaxed and inviting voice will help the child to get sucked right in before they realize they are even reading. Challenging the child is great but don’t make them over think the story. Consider how your child speaking voice is different from that of the adult voice.
Have fun with your writing – kids blow off people who are dull and stodgy.
It is perfect to allow your thoughts to run away in a stress-free tone. Keep in mind when talking to children they often are on a runaway train of conversations. Have you ever had a 7 year-old explain something to you. Give them 10 minutes and you will know more about them and their lives than your best friend has told you in several years. I am not telling you to write a story about a train to nowhere but certainly allow the story to creatively flow in a natural voice.
4. Appeal To Their Current World
Do your own research. What are children really up to when they are 7 to 10. What are current popular figures? Why are kids attracted to those figures?
Watch movies or cartoons that are current. Find what children like. In case it’s been a while since you’ve watched a kid show The Wizard of OZ is completely dull and uninteresting to today’s kids. But rather check out movies like Rio and shows like Chowder. The Wizard of Oz is no match for the graphics needed to entertain today’s kids. It takes a lot for these kids to stay engaged.
Technology has set the standard of multi-tasking – that is unless you ask them to do chores.
5. Be Funny
This is simple, who doesn’t like a taste of comedy? But this is not just plain old being funny – it is being funny for children. There is no worse feeling than when children say, “you’re old.”
Make sure that your humor is child appropriate and entertaining to them.
Think about what makes a 7 to 10 year old laugh. They are pretty simple characters, so farting in class will surely make them laugh. That is of course unless they farted, then they would be crushed. Behaviors that would embarrass an adult or older child will surely get a few giggles with the little ones. Don’t over think this one. If you look hard enough you will find that child inside yourself and the wilder the idea the better.
Explore A Different Side Of Yourself
I wrote this searching for another side of myself and how to release some pent up creativity. Children love creativity and can really help you to unleash that monster inside. The easiest way to write for children is to let go of all the worries and apprehensions and imagine you are just talking with the kids next door.
Have fun and happy writing.