When we think of children’s books, what usually comes to mind is fictional worlds filled with magic, outer space, the supernatural, and other fantastical settings. While fiction reading is popular amongst children, it’s also important to encourage them to include nonfiction books in their reading repertoire.
Nonfiction books are not only informative, but they also promote critical thinking, curiosity, and a better understanding of the world around us. Despite this, there is a common misconception amongst parents and children alike that fiction is more exciting and engaging compared to nonfiction.
Regardless, it’s important to hone nonfiction reading skills in your child, especially as it can have many benefits for their cognitive development. Additionally, not all nonfiction books are as boring or dry as children fear they might be – and with exposure to the right age-appropriate nonfiction books, you can cultivate a deeper love for reading and learning in a child of any age.
Benefits of Nonfiction Reading for Children
Nonfiction reading offers a host of benefits to children of any age, including:
- Enhances content knowledge and understanding: Nonfiction books can provide information on a wide range of topics, from science and history to nature and geography. More importantly, an age-appropriate nonfiction explains these concepts in an accessible way so that your child can better understand even complex concepts around them. For example, nonfiction science books can introduce to ideas surrounding light, colour, or the water cycle even before it’s even covered in school.
- Develops critical thinking skills: Nonfiction reading requires children to analyse and evaluate information, which in turn helps to improve their critical thinking skills. Books containing child-friendly science experiments, for example, encourage your child to use their critical thinking skills to understand cause and effect, or aspects of the scientific method. Reading nonfiction also encourages children to ask questions, explore ideas, and form opinions about a variety of topics in their everyday lives.
- Promotes vocabulary and language development: Nonfiction books typically use a more formal language style than fiction, which helps to expand children’s vocabulary and improve their language skills. This helps with language development, reading comprehension, and even writing skills.
- Encourages a love of learning: Nonfiction reading can ignite children’s passion for learning as they discover new topics and ideas that interest them. If your child has picked up on a particular topic, reading nonfiction books can deepen their interest in it and they may even move on to reading more advanced books over time!
Tips to Encourage Nonfiction Reading in Children
Encouraging your child to read nonfiction books might seem challenging at first, but there are several strategies you can use to make the process more appealing.
- Find topics that interest your child: One of the best ways to get your child interested in nonfiction reading is to focus on topics they are passionate about. Whether your child loves animals, space, or history, there are plenty of nonfiction books available on these subjects. Take your child to the library or bookstore and let them choose books that pique their unique interest.
- Make it interactive: Make nonfiction reading more engaging by asking your child questions about what they’re reading, encouraging them to share what they’ve learned, or even doing related activities like experiments or crafts. These active recall and active learning strategies also better reinforce what they’ve learnt.
- Start with shorter books or articles: If your child is new to nonfiction, it may be helpful to start with shorter books or articles. This allows them to get used to the nonfiction style and build their confidence. As they become more comfortable, you can gradually introduce longer and more complex texts.
Another way to get your child interested in reading (whether fiction or nonfiction) is by enrolling them in a reading enrichment programme in Singapore. Here at MindChamps Enrichment, our Natural Literacy and MindChamps Reading programmes are designed to suit children 3 to 4 years of age, and from 4 years up respectively. Covering phonics, numeracy, motor skills for writing, reading comprehension skills, and more, our classes build up the essential skills needed for young readers to read with confidence in English.
Book a complimentary literacy assessment session with us today to better understand your child’s literacy level and capabilities, or arrange a visit to a MindChamps Enrichment Centre near you to find out more about our programmes.