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An Alabama publishing company will release a new volume of Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn” that will replace words/phrases that are not politically correct including the n-word, “Injun” and “slave” (and others). Everyone is entitled to their opinion on whether they believe this is the right thing to do to an historical piece of literature or not.

However, it did get me thinking about the books our children read. As children grow, so do their reading choices. They come home from the library or bookstore with books they picked themselves. Every parent is delighted to see a child reading, but what’s going on between the covers of those books? For younger kids just starting to make their own book choices, what do you do as parents? Do you pre-read the book before your kids are allowed to do so?  Do you go on Amazon and check out book reviews or ask other parents their opinion? For young teen children, do you have rules about reading? For example, they can read one Twilight book if they read one class work of literature a year?

I know voracious readers who confess to reading books as teens that they later realized were not at all meant to be read at such a young age and contained topics that were years over there heads. A member of my web team offered me a simpler story: She had read “The Babysitter’s Club” series of books in second grade, but had missed out on some of the content because there were pages written in cursive, a writing style she hadn’t yet learned. “In hindsight, I probably should have asked my mom or dad to read it to me,” she said. “It took me longer to figure out what was going on when I was missing the first few pages of each chapter.”

Parents and caretakers, whatever your policy is about your children and books, be sure to at least talk to them about what they’re reading. Are they liking the book? Who is their favorite character? What’s the story about? How do they think it will end? This will help you keep tabs on what they’re reading and show you’re interested in their opinions. Perhaps it will even get you to pick up a book and read along with them.

Copywritten by Jo Frost

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