top of page

Discovering the Reading Journey: How Children Make Decisions about Reading Books

What makes a book click and what doesn't? An enquiry at the Young Readers' Club.


choosing to read a book

Conversations from the Young Readers' Club.

We were discussing different writing approaches to convey information about any given book. In the process we were reading and analyzing different writing samples. As a facilitator, I learnt a lot from the children. Sharing excerpts from our discussion, for anyone who is interested in children's literature and is keen to know children's perspective.


"How do you choose a book that you want to read?"

"I see the cover. If I like the cover, I sit down to read the first few pages to get an idea if I would like to read the book."

"For me the cover must attract attention. The title too. If it does then I will see the text written on the back cover. "

"The text written on the back side is called the blurb," I clarified.

"I pick books in random. Other than romance, any genre works for me."

"Is the cover important or is it the blurb or is it the first few pages?"

"For me it is the first page. If the first page catches my attention, then I will read the whole book no matter what."

"For me any book works as long as it is fiction. I don't really judge a book based on the cover or the blurb. I like being open minded. But it shouldn't be a long winded read with no illustrations like a dictionary!"

Others followed mostly emphasizing that the cover matter to them the most. That's the first step. If the cover doesn't work, the book is less likely to work.

It is so hard not to judge a book by its cover!

Once they get past the cover...the blurb matters, the text inside matters.


A blurb written for Roald Dahl's book The Giraffe, Pelly and Me, went in the lines of "This is a delightful children's book...."


book


One of the children reacted saying, "It sounds like this blurb has been written by an adult for an adult to read. The word "delightful" feels like an adult is saying this and worse saying that this book is good for children. It feels like as children we cannot make a decision about whether a book is nice or not. That decision has already been made for us."

"It feels like as children we cannot make a decision about whether a book is nice or not. That decision has already been made for us."

Listening to that statement, made me think in the lines of whether we underestimate children or worse talk down to them without giving them a chance to think and form their own impressions. Just as I was pondering in those lines... the same child continued by talking about another blurb which was worded very differently.


"Billy's biggest wish is to turn a weird old wooden house into a wonderful sweet shop."

She pointed out this being the introductory sentence works well as it is evidently written keeping in mind that the book has been written for children. This blurb clearly addresses us and gets to point straight away. We get introduced to Billy as someone who wants to convert an old building into a sweet shop! It makes me wonder about the book and makes me want to read further...As I read further, I realize that since the blurb is funny the story must be funny too!"


Another child joined in and said that this second blurb makes her curious to know the protagonist more. She said she found Billy interesting for his very different wish and how he became friends with animals to form the "Ladderless Company."

Others chimed in saying that the second blurb had less complicated words. "One or two big words is fine but not the entire text!"

"Billy's biggest wish is to turn a weird old wooden house into a wonderful sweet shop."
A young reader pointed out this being the introductory sentence works well as it is evidently written keeping in mind that the book has been written for children and more importantly, for children to read the blurb.

The discussion ended on a serious note. The intended message was loud and clear. "If a book is written for us to read, then the blurb should sound like it. It shouldn't feel like it has been written for an adult to read. Neither should it sound like the decision about the book has already been made for us. We would like to make the decision by ourselves. We would like to have say about how we feel about a book."


 

If you enjoyed reading this article, click on the button below to stay informed.



Both weekday and weekend batches are available at the Young Readers' Club for the 8-12 age group.

NEW!  Writing programs for the 8-12 age group- Young Writers' Club Jr.  


The Young Writers' Club program for the 13-15 age group offers a weekly platform to read and discuss curated articles from the news, observe writing approaches and practise one's writing skills.

 NEW! Musings from the Young Writers' Club is an online magazine showcasing the work we do at the Young Writers' Club.


Need more information? Please fill in the contact form below and we will reach out to you asap.





0 views0 comments
bottom of page