Teaching children to think critically — when they are reading and when listening to what people say — is a skill that will benefit them their entire life. Here are some ways that other parents have trained their kids in this important cognitive area:
Ways to Cultivate Discerning Readers
Here is how I help my kids select good reading material:
- I model healthy choices in what I stockpile on my nightstand.
- I casually recommend worthwhile reads, explaining what I liked — interesting plot, deftly drawn characters, a redemptive theme.
- Sharing a Kindle account helps me keep tabs on what’s being downloaded — and is a great method for sharing the books I find worthwhile.
- When a movie is based on a book (and is acceptable to see), we talk about the merits of characters’ actions, and I encourage them to read the book.
- I point out how, or even if, a book’s content exemplifies a biblical worldview.
—Jane Johnson Struck
Books and Critical Thinking
Our children will eventually come to understand that not everyone in our communities, our country or the world share our beliefs. There will be times when kids read opinions that directly contradict what they’ve learned at home and in church.
As a parent, you can help your child build a strong foundation in critical-reading skills, and help them examine exactly what messages are being communicated:
- Inform your child about different beliefs. Explain that a worldview is behind everything he reads, and it requires careful thought to decide whether the source is trustworthy.
- Point out loaded expressions and terminology. Ask your child, “How can words sway our thinking, either positively or negatively?”
- Encourage your child to discuss ideas she’s read. The time spent contemplating different beliefs with discernment will strengthen and develop your child’s faith.