How many times have I seen parents forcing their children away from reading picture books and intellectually stimulating texts with amazing pictures in favour of reading “the classics”. In one particular Asian country there seems to be a hide-bound tradition of reading old English texts because they are ‘real’ English. Parents there frequently asked me to direct their child away from ‘useless’ picture books in favour of something more worthwhile. From an early age creativity is stifled and the general attitude seems to be that the “square pegs WILL fit the round holes”, an attitude encouraged by an education system that discourages play.
Perhaps if the residents there realised how strange they sound in their usage of quaint and archaic terms in their everyday speech, maybe they would allow or even encourage their children to read more recent texts. There are few 5-9 years old children who would prefer to read Dickens or Bronte over a beautiful picture book.
Children need to be able to choose their own texts, to read at their leisure, that’s where the true enjoyment is.