Sometimes it's hard to really know what your kids are reading, especially if you've got a voracious reader on your hands.
I always feel excited to see a bag of books in my kids' rooms after a trip to the library, but I also always feel a little nervous, especially as my children get older. I know that reading can open up doors to so many new and exciting adventures, but I also know that books can open up doors to challenging topics and concepts if kids aren't mentally or emotionally ready for them.
Like anything, as parents we want to make sure that what our kids are reading is a good fit for them, both on the reading level and content-wise.
Here are six quick ways to get a sense of what your kids are reading without actually reading the book:
1. Look for awards. If the book was an award-winner, most likely it's high quality. That being said, there's no guarantee that the concepts will be age-appropriate.
2. Read through the chapter titles. The chapter names will give you a general sense of what will happen in the book. Are they funny? Light-hearted? Depressing? Scary?
3. Look for photos or illustrations. Photos speak a thousand words. Are you comfortable with them? Will your child be?
4. Look for Book Club Discussion Questions. Often you can tell a ton about a book just by reading the discussion questions. Are there concepts or ideas that you think your child can handle?
5. Read the back of the book or the short summary on the copyright page. The back of the book will give you an idea about the book, as will the comments and endorsements from others. Not every book has a summary on the copyright page, but if there is one, read it!
6. Check out the other books in the series. Of course, not every book is a part of a series, but if you see an end page where the other books are listed, read the other book titles. They may help you learn more about the type of book in hand.
Though we don't want to totally control everything in our children's lives, we do want to have an idea about what our kids are watching on TV, exploring on the Internet, and reading in the books they choose.
Remember, you know best what your child can and cannot handle, so if possible, read the book yourself to see if it's a good fit for your child.
What do you think, friends? How do you decide if a book is appropriate for your child when you just don't have the time to read it? Share your thoughts with us on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page, or find Amy on Twitter, @teachmama, and let's continue the conversation!