I would like to start with a couple of questions. How many times have you loved one story but found out that your friend did not care for it? How many times have you thought a certain story had a happy ending but your sister disagreed? Whether it be in books, movies, or television individual people take away their own unique conclusion. This statement also holds true for young children as well. People do not grow into their personalities or always acquire their likes/dislikes through experiences. Individuals, even in the state of infancy, have their own personalities and preferences. Maybe as a child you wanted The Three Little Pigs to be read every night while your brother preferred The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig because all four of them lived happily ever after. Through literature teachers and parents alike can gain insight into a child mind's and get to know the individual a little better.
At a local preschool I brought in the books One Little Monkey by Ruth Martin and Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley. I got very different reactions from each student that I read to. Some children got into the books by asking questions repeatedly, while some sat contently taking in the story. I also got comments that I found intriguing. For example, One Little Monkey is about a monkey trying to find friends in the jungle while meeting different animals. According to the boy, every animal was nice except for the snake. The snake did nothing wrong in the book but the child "knew" that this snake was bad. When I asked why he said quite frankly "because snakes are bad". One other thing that I found interesting was discovering the reason why one little girl did not like Go Away, Big Green Monster. She said that she did not like the monster being told to "go away" because he was nice.
Not only are we as teachers and guardians connecting and gaining insight to children through using books, we are doing much more. By asking opinions and listening to a child, that child hopefully realizes that what they say matters. Not only this but by being able to express themselves we are also helping them gain an interest into reading and confidence to speak out. I encourage you all to encourage your children to choose books that interest them and respond to what they think is important.