Like everyone else, children have circles of preferences, which they like to exist within. As adults, our comfort zone makes us feel at ease and in charge of what’s going on around us, reducing anxiety and stress.
Children who just beginning to experience life – and gain a measure of control over it – are even more likely to stick within their comfort zone. This is often why younger children like reading the same book over and over, or watching the same show again and again. There is something comforting in knowing what will happen for a child who does not yet have the perception to see their bigger life picture.
While as adults, we are encouraged to “break out” of our comfort zone, children often need constant nudges to try new foods, experience new places. The advantage is of course, to build a rich experience while at the same time taking your life ability to the next level.
At a life level, this seems complex. But when applied to reading, we can see some of the proposed benefits.
Comfort in Fluency
Young readers like to stick to books they have read before perhaps reading with fluency. However how much of this is memorized and how much is actually being read can only be measured when the child tries reading something that he or she has not read before.
Comfort in Subject
Similarly, book subjects are often tailored for children: fictional characters, talking animals etc., with a goal to capture interest. By including non-fiction content early in a young reader’s life we can try to expand their interests at an early. Not all readers like fiction, and some may be stimulated into active reading by more variety in content.
Comfort in Comprehension
Levels of reading are often determined by comprehension, and yet contrarily we often see the most active readers have the best vocabulary and are way ahead of their reading levels. By restricting a child to a reading level, we are keeping them in the comfort zone of comprehension. Not understanding what they read is an excellent way to promote discussion and can lead to a broader awareness.
There are many discussions on how to nudge your child out of their comfort zones. Consider how some of these could apply to your child’s reading goals and you may come up with news ways to get your child reading better.