Should Your Child Read Scary Stories?

Should Your Child Read Scary Stories?

We can all remember when we were children reading some sort of scary story late at night by the light of our little kid’s lamp as we lay curled up in bed underneath the blankets. We were glued to the book, excitedly turning the pages as we anticipated what the ending could be. Every noise in the house as we read would make our tiny little heart beat just a bit faster. We couldn’t put the book down until we found out exactly what happened at the end.

It’s worth repeating: We couldn’t put the book down until we found out exactly what happened at the end. Ryan Crawley, a professional Reading Specialist with a Master’s degree in Reading and Literacy, spends quite a bit of his day diagnosing and treating children who struggle with reading or suffer from a true reading disability. Crawley always provides the same tip for parents who are worried about their kids reading scary stories. As long as they are age appropriate and it is making them want to read more, then there really isn’t a problem.

The truth of the matter is that many kids struggle with their reading skills, whether it be phonics and decoding or sight words, just because they are not spending enough time actually sitting down and reading. They aren’t using the reading skills they are learning. They need to practice to become good at it, just like anything else in life.

Crawley has taught many students whose primary language was not English, so they were English as a second language (ESL) students. Similar to the other students that were struggling, they needed to practice and repeat their phonics skills often. And some of their favorite books were those that dealt with the supernatural! It inspired them to read more because the subject matter was what they were interested in.

Crawley says if your child gets excited about scary stories with ghosts and monsters and it is appropriate for their age, then have them read away! They will be acquiring the practice they need. But they still should be able to read approximately 9 out of every 10 words correctly in the story. If they are missing more words than that, they are going to enter the frustration level and will not truly understand what the story is about. This will help make sure that the book is actually age appropriate for the child.

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— Liane

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