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How do you keep your kids reading "age appropriate" books?


Guest HolidayMomma
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Guest HolidayMomma

My little baby girl is 6 years old, and a friend of hers at school did a nice thing--she leant her a book. Now, normally, I would be extatic. It's so nice when children share--and a book, especially!

 

It was an American Girl book. Are you familiar with those books?

 

Anyway, my daughter started reading it, and she loves it. But after she fell asleep last night, I looked at the book, and it said "Ages 8+" on the back cover.

 

Well, the book looks innocent enough. I read it, and it doesn't have anything inappropriate. But should I be concerned that she is not mature enough to read it? I mean, why else would they go out of their way to print "Ages 8+" on the back cover?

 

How do you all handle your kids reading books that may not be "age appropriate"? Perhaps I should just be happy that she is reading at a higher reading level... but I'd love some input.

 

Thanks so much!

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I screen them.

 

I never go by the age ranges on books either. Usually the ranges are on there as a guide of reading ability. DD is 6 years old and reads on a 4th grade level. So most books meant for a 6-year old are mind-numbingly easy for her. Right now, she's reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Amazon lists it as 9-12 for the age, but I wouldn't make her wait till then to read it just b/c the age is older than she is. And I wouldn't automatically assume that something that says 6+ is appropriate for my DD to be reading either. If it's a book you don't know - ask on here!! I did that with Charlie since I haven't read it and she didn't want to wait for me to pre-read it and got great feedback on it.

 

FWIW, we've found that all of the AG books are great. I would let DD read one without hesitation and I'm pretty conservative with themes and such in books.

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It may be not do much that it is inappropriate, but that they don't expect kids under 8 to have the reading skills to handle that book. I've got several books listed as ages 9-12 that I remember loving elementary school. I tried to give one to my dd when she was in third grade and she read a few pages then told me it was boring. I think she may have been to young to understand it.

Edited by bonniebeth4
typo
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I screen them.

 

I never go by the age ranges on books either. Usually the ranges are on there as a guide of reading ability. DD is 6 years old and reads on a 4th grade level. So most books meant for a 6-year old are mind-numbingly easy for her. Right now, she's reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Amazon lists it as 9-12 for the age, but I wouldn't make her wait till then to read it just b/c the age is older than she is. And I wouldn't automatically assume that something that says 6+ is appropriate for my DD to be reading either. If it's a book you don't know - ask on here!! I did that with Charlie since I haven't read it and she didn't want to wait for me to pre-read it and got great feedback on it.

 

FWIW, we've found that all of the AG books are great. I would let DD read one without hesitation and I'm pretty conservative with themes and such in books.

:iagree:

 

Exactly what I wanted to say!:)

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I never found anything alarming in an American Girl book.

 

Just keep in mind that there is some death in the Kirsten books (her best friend dies onboard the ship that's taking them to their new home). And in another, I think I recall, a boy's mother freezes to death in front of him. From what my dd says there is a quite a bit of emotion involved.

 

One of the Addy books bothered my dd. There's a small bit about Addy, a slave, being forced to eat worms. I don't remember if she was forced by a white child or by her master. That book really made slavery hit home for my dd, but it was a bit much for her and she put the Addy books away for a long time.

 

Some kids are more sensitive than others. Just a heads up.

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a lot of books have suggested ages either for reading ability or content. You probably should pre-screen American Girl Books. I got one for dd and we read part of it together and since *I* couldn't bear it in my 20s, decided not to read it with dd.

 

But she read LOTS of books at 5 and 6. We had a librarian help us find ones that would be okay for content while still challenging her reading level. The Shoe books, Orphan Train books, ShiloH books, Happy Hollisters, The [old] Bobbsey Twin books, Caddie Woodlawn, BoxCar Children....We also used the Robinson Curriculum and Sonlight lists as well as others online.

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One of the Addy books bothered my dd. There's a small bit about Addy, a slave, being forced to eat worms. I don't remember if she was forced by a white child or by her master. That book really made slavery hit home for my dd, but it was a bit much for her and she put the Addy books away for a long time.

 

Some kids are more sensitive than others. Just a heads up.

 

It was her master, I believe. As a punishment for being too slow or some such. My daughter loved the Addy books. When Addy chose her birthday and they had an ice cream party, my daughter asked me to write that day down on the calendar, and the next time that date rolled around, we ate ice cream lol.

 

I like the American Girl books. They touch on tough issues for sure but in ways that (most) kids can handle, I think, and with characters that kids can relate to, and I think they're a good way to touch on/introduce some of our history.

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I don't either. This has sort of been said, but the majority of times a book has an age on it, it's solely about reading level - vocabulary level, complexity of plot and sentence structure, etc. It's rarely about content. If your dd can read it and enjoy it, then it's not a big deal. It's just a guideline.

 

Everyone on this forum has different opinions on these matters, but the vast majority of books for children before they get to YA don't have content I would hesitate to expose my 6 yos to. Now, some books are more suited to them than others. However, some people want to keep their kids from reading certain books because the kids themselves are very sensitive, they're concerned about non-Christian influences or they're concerned about the influence of so-called "twaddle" or poor quality literature. None of those concern me, but if they concern you, there are only two ways to find out - read it yourself or ask advice from someone who has read it (like here) before your dd can read everything.

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I pre-screened at that age too.

 

I also disliked the American Girl books, primarily because they use today's values to judge historical events. The first one I noticed it in was one where the servant girl gets pregnant and quits to have/raise her baby. The daughter of the house is appalled that the servant can't continue to work after she has the baby, that she "has" to stay home and raise it. The people of that era would not have looked at it like that at all. They would have been appalled at having to put the baby in daycare to continue working!

 

There are a lot of books available that are much better at maintaining historical accuracy.

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I pre-screened at that age too.

 

I also disliked the American Girl books, primarily because they use today's values to judge historical events. The first one I noticed it in was one where the servant girl gets pregnant and quits to have/raise her baby. The daughter of the house is appalled that the servant can't continue to work after she has the baby, that she "has" to stay home and raise it. The people of that era would not have looked at it like that at all. They would have been appalled at having to put the baby in daycare to continue working!

 

There are a lot of books available that are much better at maintaining historical accuracy.

 

What makes you think that "the people of that era" would have ALL shared the same point of view on something like that, any more than the people of this era do? Maybe most people did think that way back then, but it's not totally unbelievable that the "daughter of the house" in that story might have her own, differing, viewpoint.

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