Classics are forever. Today, with quick books that kids can skim through and the limitless releases of easy-to-read stories, it seems that kids may be moving away from classics. Classics for children are significant.
Yes, classics do have endless accounts of long descriptions, words that have fallen out of fashion today, depiction of rural scenery, and so on. For children, the settings may feel dated. Some children today may not be able to relate to the world and the society described.
Despite all the superficial reasons, classics play a strong in shaping your child as a reader, a learner and a human being.
There are many reasons why you should read classics to children.
- Classics display astounding prose and excellent vocabulary. While reading to my son, we maintained a list of new words we came across in the books we read together, both classics and some ‘popular’ children’s bestsellers. Not surprisingly, the classics had a mind-boggling number of new words.
- Reading classics will help improve the quality of writing as well. We are talking about books that have a lot of literary merit and have withstood the test of time. They are a part of literary legacy. The rich sentence structures and vocabulary, along with many subtle aspects of the plot and story will creep into your child’s mind at a subconscious level. (Goodbye creative writing classes….all you need is a dose of classics!).
- Classics belong to a different era. The experience of reading about a different time and place, the mores and the society back then, the attitudes and the human experiences of an era gone past, will add richness to the reading.
- Due to the inherent complexities in the plot and structure, it promotes a deeper understanding of nuances. It enhances their ability to make connections, process information in a deeper manner, develop empathy, make analysis and appreciate fine writing.
- It will make your child love reading even more! Books are not called classics for nothing!
Some classic tips that will help you in getting your child read classics….
- Buy age-appropriate abridged versions. Many of these versions make classics really accessible to children. Moreover, there are some beautifully illustrated ones as well, which works great for children.
- Read it to them. Seriously. Even if they are independent readers and ‘old enough’ to read by themselves. Sometimes, the context and background of the book may be alien to modern children. It helps to have help. But more than anything else, it is sure to be a great bonding activity!
- Once you are done with the reading, watch the movie. Search for documentaries or little bits of information on the writers and their lives on media channels like YouTube. You’ll discover a wealth of information! And, it will make the book meaningful.
What are the titles one could pick up? It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. Yet, to start I would recommend the following stories. As children get familiar with these you can move to others.
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The war of the worlds by HG Wells
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
This is by no means exhaustive. It is not even the tip of the iceberg, but these are good starts for embarking on an exciting and never-ending adventure.
Do share your suggestions and experiences of classics for children in the comments section below!