What books do you remember best from your childhood? Could you picture yourself digging the soil in the secret garden along with Mary? Maybe you fought alongside Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter in Narnia. Did you wish at night to wake up as a Hobbit in the morning? Could you imagine what James felt like inside the Giant Peach?
Books that create a rich, magical world capture readers' imaginations, make lifelong memories, and build reading skills. Once children find a fictional "world" that fascinates them, they read because they want to!
Help your children find their own magical worlds through reading
Pay attention to what interests your child. Look beyond the obvious interests inspired by TV or popular culture. Does your child like to "keep house" or organize things? Many children’s books feature kids living on their own and doing life tasks usually done by adults.
Talk to the children’s librarian at your local library. He or she will help you find all sorts of books that relate your child’s current interests.
Read fairy tales
The plots and situations in these classic tales form basic storylines for much of the world’s fiction. They offer primary images - like primary colors - that help young readers begin to associate words with vivid images and decode plots.
Fairy tales are not just for the youngest children. Original versions of many Grimms' fairy tales are really best suited for older audiences.
Books that are part of a series also offer good opportunities for readers to find special characters they love and a fascinating world that stimulates their imaginations and keeps them longing to read more.
Read aloud with your children of all ages
Read to them and listen to them read to you. The fictional "world" of a book is created by vivid imagery in descriptions, but descriptive passages may be missed in silent reading. Reading aloud helps children hear the language and stimulates their ability to "see" the images they’re reading about.
Writing fantasy is one of the techniques used by the Literacy and Language Center to stimulate readers’ imaginations.