Clas­si­fi­ca­tion needed to aid young read­ers

China Daily (Canada) - - WORLD -

of 2,026 in­ter­vie­wees are in fa­vor of a clas­si­fi­ca­tion sys­tem for chil­dren’s books, while only 5.4 per­cent dis­agree, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey on ju­ve­nile ed­u­ca­tion. Bei­jing Youth Daily com­mented onWed­nes­day:

For the chil­dren who have just started to read, choos­ing the right books is es­sen­tial and their par­ents should be there to help them.

A proper book clas­si­fi­ca­tion sys­tem would be of great help in this re­gard, since most par­ents do not know which books suit their chil­dren’s reading level the most. An ef­fec­tive clas­si­fi­ca­tion sys­tem for chil­dren’s books would help over­come this prob­lem.

Chi­nese book­stores, on­line or off­line, still pre­fer to use age rather than reading abil­ity to cat­e­go­rize what they sell. Reading abil­ity and in­ter­ests vary from child to child even when they are at the same age. This prim­i­tive form of clas­si­fi­ca­tion is ac­cepted by most book­stores and pub­lish­ers, yet many young read­ers get books that are nowhere near their tar­geted reading level.

China has at least 200 mil­lion chil­dren un­der the age of 14, and their en­thu­si­asm for reading has surged over the years. The pub­lish­ers of chil­dren’s books should try to in­tro­duce a ju­ve­nile-cen­tered clas­si­fi­ca­tion sys­tem to help their read­ers choose books that are suit­able for their reading abil­i­ties.

Some re­main sus­pi­cious of the call for more sci­en­tific book clas­si­fi­ca­tion, cit­ing the need for young­sters to read “ex­ten­sively” and avoid con­fin­ing them­selves to one or two cat­e­gories. There is a strong case for re­sist­ing “se­lec­tive reading”, but not book clas­si­fi­ca­tion, which is de­signed to help young chil­dren de­velop be­nign reading habits and hold onto them in the long run.

Stud­ies have found that chil­dren are less likely to be in­ter­ested in reading if they have not de­vel­oped such a habit be­fore the age of 10. That said, it is in their best in­ter­ests to re­sort to tar­geted reading dur­ing child­hood, as this can greatly im­prove their com­pre­hen­sion abil­i­ties. So greater ef­forts should be put into de­sign­ing a book clas­si­fi­ca­tion sys­tem that meets the needs of young read­ers.

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