Memories of reading a book when we were a child, that just gripped us and we couldn’t put down, can stay with us for a life time. These experiences can be where a real love for reading begins.
So, when it comes to encouraging our children to read, it makes sense to find books that do the same. One way of doing this is finding a book genre that fits with their personality and matches their interests. Rossall School has put together some ideas for how to find a good genre for your child, open them up to the world of books and get them, and keep them, reading.
Matching book genres to your child
From science fiction to fantasy, scary stories to mysteries, realism to historical fiction, there are so many genres that could be the perfect fit for your child.
Anything, from what they choose to write about at school to what their teachers say about them at parents’ evening. What they draw for pleasure to what they build with their Lego. Or what excites them in the world around them to what games they play with their friends and toys, can help you find a genre they can really connect with. This can also open up other genres to them and subjects to explore, developing new interests along the way.
Consider buying books for your child that match their loves, fascinations and adorations. But also try pushing novels under their nose that can open up other genre worlds for them to discover, helping to make them a book lover for life.
The thrill seeker or problem solver
Does your child enjoy the feeling of fear and like to be scared? Have they spoken excitedly about the idea of visiting a haunted house or the bogie monster coming night? Do they ask about going on the big, scary rides at the fair or seeing the latest horror film at the cinema? Then suspense or scary stories, which should push the rush they get from being scared, will surely be the book genre of their choice. The mysteries sometimes involved in these stories could also open them up to mystery books, while the scary creatures could take them to the world of fantasy.
Alternatively, perhaps your child is good with numbers and great at solving puzzles. They think about things in a logical way and maths is a strong subject for them at school. Fictional child mysteries, which involve a good puzzle, or a mystery waiting to be solved, could for a great genre choice for them. These books could also stimulate their problem-solving abilities more, opening them up to other avenues, like murder mystery period classics, when they’re older.
The fantasist or science follower
How is your child’s imagination? Have they had an animal that talks as an imaginary friend or pretend to have magical powers? Do they draw pictures of dragons or write about fictional worlds at school? If so, fantasy books, which bring to life the magical world they love to live in, could be an ideal genre for them to get stuck into. With the focus of adventure and frightening mystical creatures in fantasy novels, you could also tempt them into pursuing genres like adventure, mystery and scary stories.
Alternatively, perhaps they have a love of physics and computer science at school. The world of technology and all its possibilities excite them. Or they are fascinated by the ideas of alien life and imitate space rockets with their toy cars. In this case, science fiction could be a genre that really excites them. The magical ideas of these stories, worlds and creatures, could also open them up to fantasy books.
The realist or history lover
Is your child more of a realist? Are they interested in the world today? Do people in everyday life, and their different achievements, fascinate them? If so, books in realistic fiction would be a worthy choice, where the reality of the modern world, which they are so interested in, is often cleverly reflected in the pages. Fiction in the modern time could also bring about stories of how things came to be and an interest in history novels.
With this in mind, perhaps the past already makes them tick? They loved studying the Victorians or Egyptians at school or are interested in old stories about the war. If this is the case, historical fiction would be a good genre for them to explore. The fictional setting alongside real historical characters, or vice versa, can also open up a new world to them, pushing their imagination to other genres. This could include period mysteries, fictional stories about the world today, or science fictional tales about tomorrow.