Of course reading is cool in all seasons, but for me, wintertime is the best time to curl up with a good novel. In the summer, I tend to read more magazines. From September through June, I like to stash nonfiction books in the car to read while I wait for my kids in the pick-up line after school. Over time, my reading style has evolved. In my early twenties I’m embarrassed to admit, I read nothing but Danielle Steel novels. Next, I went through a historical fiction phase. Now I spend a big share of my reading time on parenting books, Young Adult fiction, and blogs.
Paying attention to our general reading preferences and patterns helps us become more efficient at choosing satisfying reading material for our current season. Of course seasons and interests and attention spans change, but knowing who you are as a reader is an important part of being a strong independent reader. Most of us intuitively know our reading styles without really giving it any thought. With a little guidance, even the youngest kids can do the same thing, and it helps them become more confident readers!
One of my literacy resolutions is to encourage my sons to consider their reading interests and think about their own reading preferences when they choose books. I want them to discover new and interesting texts that they might not be immediately drawn to. I want them to learn that not every fourth grader adores the Percy Jackson series, and that’s ok. I want them to know that good readers all have different and evolving interests and reading styles, and you can still be an excellent reader even if you prefer sports articles and comics over 500-page novels.
I’m ok with kids reading the same book a hundred times if they really love it, but for them to grow and develop as readers, they do need a little variety in their reading diet. One of my favorite super-simple ways to encourage variety is to do a reading scavenger hunt. You can make one to suit your family, or download my Winter Reading Scavenger Hunt here.
Spread this out over the rest of the winter, or see how much you can accomplish during one short period of time. (Snow day!!) The point is to think about different genres and be creative as you locate texts to read that fit each category. You could read an article on the internet about the Winter Olympics, or read a biography about a participating athlete, or the back of a cereal box. Along the way, hopefully kids will discover a new genre or way to read and learn a bit more about their own preferences as readers.