My twelve-year-old son is an avid reader of non-fiction, but won’t read fiction at all. Is there any reason for this?
As individuals, we all have different personalities and traits that make us who we are. The same applies with our reading personalities. We have certain likes and dislikes, genres or authors that we always like or ones that we never read. For instance, I’m not a massive fan of historical fiction but really enjoy fantasy books. These reading traits follow through to when and how we read. For instance, we may need to have perfect silence when we are reading so we can concentrate and ‘fall’ into the book. We may like certain places to read or to read at certain times: just before you go to sleep and in bed are two very common ones.
So, to enjoy non-fiction over fiction is something that is completely normal and something that you might expect. Non-fiction can also sometimes be perceived as a genre in its own right, however non-fiction books, just like fiction, are filled with their own genres, from science to history and maths to languages.
The factual nature of non-fiction appeals immensely to some people as, instead of being made up, like fiction, everything in it is real or actually happened. This is one aspect that certainly can’t be underestimated, especially when you’re talking about reading for pleasure and encouraging young people to read the things that interest them.
There is also a great variety of non-fiction texts on the market today. So much more so than even five years ago, and the way the publishers and writers are now creating these books, the reading experience is immeasurably enhanced. For instance, the publisher Templar seems to use creativity as its template, and with books such as How the World Works, you can’t help but be engaged in its pages.
Authors of non-fiction are incredibly talented at turning some things that at school might seem boring and tedious into something fascinating. No author I feel, does this better than Mitchel Symonds, whose books include Why Eating Bogeys is Good for You and How Much Poo Does an Elephant Do? His take on facts (and probably the most interesting side of facts) engages so many different types of readers. But with the ability to dip in and out and to start at any point, it makes his books extremely accessible.
Non-fiction doesn’t necessarily have to be for any educational gain either. As mentioned earlier, reading for pleasure is the key to any type of reading. If you are reading something you enjoy, you are going to have a positive view of reading, take more from the book and see reading as a pleasurable experience that you want to repeat.
Therefore books like Tony Robinson’s Worst Jobs in History sit alongside Kjartan Poskitt’s Murderous Maths of Everything. One book is a gory read into some of the most dire of jobs people have done over history and the other is a maths book that not only brings maths to life but makes it so much easier to understand!