There’s nothing that makes a parent prouder than finding out that their child is doing well in school and one of the more popular tools is your child’s reading level. If your 12 year old reads at a 10th grade level, that’s fantastic and you should be proud. However, that isn’t the most important thing when you take your kids to the bookstore.
Credit (Angie Hill)
There are few things more annoying to a bookstore employee working in the children’s section than to be told, “she’s 10 but she reads at a 12th grade level.” The problem is that 10 year olds and 16 year olds are into different things and are dealing with different issues. 10 year olds deal with 10 year old issues: getting to the swings first at recess and trying not to get cooties. 16 year olds are often dealing with much more serious issues, such as sex, parties/substance abuse, and getting into college. That isn’t to say that a 10 year old isn’t dealing with serious issues (bullying, for example), but younger children are not as independent as teenagers; they still turn to adults when they need help.
Children’s sections at bookstores and libraries are divided most often by age. The small cardboard or cloth books like Brown Bear and Goodnight Moon are for toddlers; picture books like Where the Wild Things Are or Fancy Nancy are for kids aged 3-6 or so.
Chapter books like Captain Underpants are for kids in first through third grade; novels for children, such as the series Lemony Snickett, American Girl, and Harry Potter, are typically for kids from fourth to sixth grade. Young adult novels like the Twilight series or The Earth, My Butt, and Other Large Round Things are for kids 13 and up. There’s a little wiggle room for each of those sections, but age is the biggest consideration for a bookseller when giving a recommendation. So the next time you are searching for books for your kids, tell the bookseller your child’s age and what genres they like and let the bookseller make a recommendation. They know what’s popular with kids and can help you find books that your children will treasure.