TRC Read to Kids

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Using Children's Magazines

Fed up with fiction? Some young readers are hungry for facts on their favorite topics—and that kind of curiosity should never go unattended! Nothing lends itself to a Read-Aloud like a kid who’s eager to learn more about a topic. Sometimes it can be hard to find a nonfiction book that’s not too dry, so don’t be afraid to turn to other media.

Kids' magazines provide great, concise reading material: they’re full of short articles, activities, and brightly-colored pictures. National Geographic Kids, Sports Illustrated KidsTime for Kids, Click and Dig are just a few of the excellent kids' magazines being published.

Ranger Rick is a good example of a magazine designed for knowledge-hungry kids. It is a monthly children's magazine published by the National Wildlife Federation and narrated by this guy:
The magazine explores different topics about the animal kingdom and great outdoors. It can be great for introducing readers to new topics or exploring ones they already know a little bit about. The design is especially good for short attention spans! Big print, diagrams, and easy-to-read maps characterize the articles, and some of them are tailor-made to adult/kid reading pairs. Consider the article “In search of seashells” from the September 2011 issue.

The article provides activity ideas for kids on a seashell hunt: playing games with the shells, creating art projects, telling stories, and even classifying them using simple classification tools explained in the article. ("'Uni' means one, 'bi' means two" an illustrated girl explains.) All of the activities they describe can easily be turned into a Read-Aloud with a handful of seashells and some other books about the beach and sea animals. Even better, the article is short enough to keep even the most fidgety reader's interest.

For a kid interested in wild animals, Ranger Rick offers plenty of pictures of wide-toothed sharks and true stories about silly animal antics. If a kid is having trouble engaging in the Read-Aloud, stories about monkeys being chased through the streets by policemen in India might just do the trick! After you've gotten your reader's attention, why not keep it by following up with a Curious George story or a non-fiction book about monkeys?

Children's magazines can serve as a great segue into a new subject or as a way to mix things up if they're getting dull. Consider checking them out next time you're at the library if you know you have a particularly bouncy kid.

More activities can be found at the National Wildlife Federation's Ranger Rick website.

Post by The Reading Connection intern Anna McCormally.

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1 comment:

  1. sometimes we forget how hard this can all be for a small child. Thanks for this insightful post.

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