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Book Gift Idea for Kids: TIME for Kids BIG Book of Why
My kids and I love this book. If you have kids who are always asking “Why…” questions, as most young kids with developing, curious minds do, then you and your kids will love this book by Time for Kids Magazine. Yes, it Time magazine – for kids! I recently read an article about helping your children learn to love nonfiction books and had one of those “aha!” moments.
A large majority of what we, as adults, read in life is nonfiction. Nonfiction, like in school textbooks, prepares kids for the real world, but school reading programs have mostly fiction selections. Do educators think that kids won’t read books unless they’re fiction? Perhaps it’s because our children equate nonfiction books with “boring” textbooks.
My youngest daughter is starting kindergarten this year, and I am well aware that the assessment tests given to our children these days require good nonfiction reading skills. Kids love learning new things, and that can easily be accomplished with nonfiction reading. If kids learn to love nonfiction, it can make them feel (and be) smarter and it also helps develop their critical thinking skills. In addition, nonfiction satisfies their curiosity about the “why’s” of life – from where does lightning come from to why the sky is blue and so much more. Nonfiction also teaches your child about history, which many children find fascinating.
Parents need to be a part of getting their children interested in, and excited about, reading nonfiction. Learning to enjoy reading nonfiction can and should happen at home, too. There are so many things around that can be fun nonfiction reading that you can do with your child – newspaper articles, atlases, charts and graphs, brochures, cookbooks, biographies, and more. Did you know that Time magazine publishes a magazine just for kids – Time for Kids? I’m ordering a subscription for my kids today (and you can too: call 800-777-8600)!
The Big Book of Why, published by Time for Kids, provides a great way to find answers to your kids’ questions and is a great book to have on hand for reading with your child. It is geared for the 8-12 year old range, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be enjoyed by the younger children, too. If your children aren’t reading yet, you can still read from this book to your children and they’ll still reap the benefits of some nonfiction. Often times kids ask questions that parents have a hard time answering and those are the types of questions that are in this book – how are alligators and crocodiles different? Why is the Statue of Liberty Green? Why does a basketball hoop sit ten feet above the ground? Why don’t penguins fly? Why is the sky blue? Why is the ocean salty? The answers in the book are written in a clear and simple manner for kids (and adults) to understand, and perhaps spur the child to want to learn even more about a particular topic.
The Big Book of Why answers questions in a large range of topics, including science and technology, people and places, animals, earth, history, and space. This book also has lots of photographs to help draw kids in. Learning can be fun and this book can help show children that it, in fact, is.
Here are some simple things that you can do with your child(ren) to help foster their love of nonfiction:
- Does your child have a passion for horses, sports, history (or anything) – take a trip to your local library and find books that satisfy their passion.
- Discuss with your child the difference between fiction and nonfiction and then ask him or her to compare the differences. You could take her favorite fiction book together with a magazine article and ask how they differ. Ask what features the article has the book doesn’t, or vice versa. Examples of differences could include the use of pictures or charts, headlines and subheads, and captions or other things that break up the text.
- Once your child has a grasp of what nonfiction is, ask what he or she has read and learned – perhaps a fascinating fact or two was picked up and recalled.
- Let you child help you put something together using an instructional manual – a new toy or a small piece of furniture. Understanding and following directions is an important life skill that they need to develop.
- Play a game. Go over the rules of the game together, using and referring back to the written rules when needed. Make sure that your child comprehends the rules of the game.
- Another great way to read nonfiction with your kids is by cooking together. This not only helps to teach them a life skill, but reading a cookbook or recipe is nonfiction reading. Talk about why each step in the cooking process is important.
We all want our children to love learning and to become knowledgeable individuals and part of the responsibility for fostering that love of learning comes from us, the parents. Encourage and help your child learn to love nonfiction and you and your child will be on your way there!