It is very common to introduce children or upcoming readers to fiction as a base for building appetite for reading and this is very good. Fiction has a lot of benefits especially when it comes to improving creativity and imagination. However, along the line I have noticed that as many proceed to higher levels of education whether it is secondary school/universities, they grapple with comprehending a lot of information that is thrown at them. I will explain what I mean.
When children graduate from primary schools they transit from fictions to non-fictions. In other words, they are exposed to new texts that don’t come in forms of stories. They are introduced to what we call Informational Reading. In fact, this is practically the type of reading we do most in our adult life. Informational Reading is largely non-fiction with a sole aim of informing readers of certain aspects of the world in which they live in. It does not make use of characters like in fiction and it is always written in such a way that you have quality information about a particular subject and might employ the use of technical registers in passing across its message.
Why is there a difficult transition into this level of reading? It is because at a very young age, people are not thoroughly introduced to this type of reading. Informational Reading could be on various subjects like Science, Politics, Animals, Photography, History, etc. Children take in a lot of information and are very curious. However, we cannot rely solely on fiction to give children basic information. This is why some of them struggle in higher classes because the teachers/professors assume that they ought to have known some certain fundamental things/terminologies or have some certain information. Hence, they have to struggle with comprehension. This is why for many of them, initial years in high school or universities are really hard for them. They have not been mentally prepared to handle the large amount of information given to them. They sometimes crack under the pressure. Though, Informational texts are slotted within some English textbooks for Secondary Schools and then questions are asked afterwards but that alone does not aid comprehension. For it to be effective, teachers have to thoroughly read on the subject and even allow the students research on it.
The reading of a child is not complete if the child is not introduced to informational text reading. The child will do informational reading most of his/her college life and there is a need to mentally prepare them for the challenge. In fact, teaching informational reading is more fun when audio-visuals are used to spice up the class. Even as adults, there are so many books out there that will provide you with every necessary information that you need. We are all inclined to wanting to know more, we just need to find the right book that answers our questions well enough.