I was just volunteering my time today in an amazing class called Team Bond 3rd Grade. They are in Walled Lake, MI and they were describing their favorite books to me. They happened to include Harry Potter and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Why? Well, it is pretty simple. These kids love to explore new worlds through a different lens. Sometimes that lens is one that we can really identify with, like the relationship between Greg and his family. Sometimes that lens is not one we can identify with, but the world is so magical that we would love to be a part of it.
Whatever kids reasons for identifying with characters in a book are, kids will continue to pick up books with those characters again and again if they can identify or want to identify with them. Why is this important? This is why kids read. If there isn’t an identification process, then there isn’t an interest. If there isn’t an interest, then there is no reason to continue reading. It is time to abandon the book and move on to a new one.
When I was a little girl I believed that there was this thing called magical paint. You could use it to paint yourself and then no one would see you. Because of my magical paint reference, I could really identify with Harry Potter and his invisible cloak. I not only envied Harry Potter, but I wanted to jump into the book and get one of those invisible cloaks for myself. I loved experiencing the world when Harry was in his invisible cloak.
Now Greg Heffley is just your everyday middle school kid. He is not too popular, but he is not completely unpopular. He is friends with Holly. Anyway, I think that since most of us fit in the middle, we can definitely relate to Greg. He has a mean big brother. I had one too. (Still do, lol) However, there are times when they seem to get along. Greg’s little brother is totally annoying and older kids with younger siblings can definitely relate to the trials and tribulations that Greg suffers on a day to day basis.
These two characters are believable, likable, and identifiable. Every kid is going to have his/her own reasons why he/she connects with these characters. No two kids will relate for the same exact reasons. That is why today’s strategy of identifying with a character from the book is so much fun. It gives your child the opportunity to think about what life would be like to be in the shoes of that character. Great readers, do this automatically. This is why they fall in love with reading so much.
I just recently turned a boy who would rather be playing video games onto the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and this boy now wants to read every single Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. Why, because they both have a love of video games. That’s right, this kid is able to identify with the life of the character because they enjoy the exact same things. Guess what, in just 3 short weeks that boy finished the first book almost completely on his own. Thank you Jeff Kinney for turning boys who love video games into lovers of your books.
Today with your child ask what character he/she identifies with and share which one you identify with and explain why.
P.S If you are reading a non-fiction book, you are off the hook today.
P.P.S Did you know that the smartest people in the world read non-fiction books everyday?