In the era of smartphones, kids have an entire world of possibilities at their fingertips. Students are exposed to more text than ever before. So why bother with magazines for kids? It turns out that not all stereotypes about technology-loving youngsters are totally true.
Kids Prefer Print
According to the 2016 Western Australian Study in Children’s Book Reading, many children actually prefer print texts to digital materials. Even those who enjoy using e-readers often read more print material than online text. Some students who struggle with attention find themselves more easily distracted—and prone to open another tab or app—when using e-readers, computers, or smartphones to read.
Snail Mail Makes It Special
Another way that magazines for kids stand apart from digital texts, or even books, is the excitement of getting something new in the mail. How many kids have checked out a book from the library or gotten a book for a birthday present, intended to read it, and somehow never started on it? Anticipating a new magazine at roughly the same time each month or two gives kids something to plan and look forward to. Kids’ magazines are especially exciting for those who may have never had their “own” mail. In an age of email, magazines for kids are something tangible and completely theirs.
It’s Okay to Mess Up a Magazine
About that ‘ownership’ topic—young kids may show their love for their belongings in ways that parents don’t appreciate. If you’ve ever seen a kid color in a favorite book or bring it in the bathtub and drop it in the water, you know that kids can show some tough love for their favorite stories. But tearing a page out of a magazine to save for later, doodling on the pages, or even cutting it up to make a collage is totally acceptable. Magazines for kids were designed for the distinctly hands-on sensibility of a small child. They also fit well into backpacks or stroller pouches so that they can go anywhere that kids do.
Your Daily Dose of Nonfiction
Have you checked out the most recent Common Core State Standards yet? Nonfiction and informational reading material is a big deal. STEM or history magazines for kids like ASK, MUSE, and COBBLESTONE are designed to present informational material in the form of short, interesting articles that kids will digest easily. With issues designed around specific topics, kids may discover passions that they never knew they had (oceanography, the American Revolution, butterflies) and delve in deeper by doing additional research online or checking out library books!
Variety is the Spice of Life
Even in kids’ literary magazines like CRICKET and LADYBUG, there’s a wide variety of material in just one magazine. Kids can broaden their horizons by reading poetry, historical fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, humor, biography, and realistic fiction rather than just sticking with one kind of story. They may discover a new favorite genre or author. Magazines for kids also often come with recipes, crafts, experiments, and other activities to help kids really connect to their reading material. What better way to learn a new skill?
For reluctant readers, books can be a little intimidating, and the more they’re forced to read, the more reading becomes a chore. It may sound counter-intuitive to parents, but letting students choose their favorite type of reading material will make them better and more engaged readers. Magazines for kids, comics, recipes, and even how-to manuals can be stepping stones to a lifelong love of reading.