I have been reading a lot of research on the importance of young children developing an extensive vocabulary in the context of the subjects in which those words are commonly used. I was inspired to go down this rabbit hole primarily by the recent work of Daisy Christodoulou. However, her work often references the research of learning theorists like Paul Kirshner, Herbert Simon, and JD Hirsch.￼￼￼ Kirshner has been a huge influence on my instructional design philosophy. One of the interesting tidbits came across my screen this morning was the importance of reading children nonfiction and encouraging children to read nonfiction as a way to build vocabulary in the context of real knowledge domains in which the words are used.￼￼
There’s a strong case for including informational text in your family’s reading diet. Here are some tried-and-true tips for making reading nonfiction to young kids enjoyable.
My toddler and preschooler recently discovered the nonfiction section at the library. They scoop up all the sports books their chubby arms can carry and beg me to read them. I’m thrilled they’re so excited about books, of course, but … informational books don’t often invite funny voices for different characters or dramatic wondering about what will happen next. As a fellow parent recently commented to me, reading nonfiction aloud can be “a little bit dry.”
There’s a strong case for including informational text in your family’s reading diet, though. Some research shows that children actually prefer nonfiction books to stories, and they are fantastic for building kids’ vocabulary and background knowledge. Reading nonfiction aloud can be fun, too. Here are some tried-and-true tips for making reading nonfiction to young kids enjoyable.