I always read to Leelee above her level, I think this is important for children. How do children increase their understanding & vocabulary if you only ever expose them to literature at or below their comprehension level? A good mix is essential.
We are reading Tolkein, Doctor Seuss & Sam McBratney simultaneously.
I support this approach wholeheartedly when it relates to language, but not themes.
I recently had someone read LeeLee a traditional style fairytale which contained inappropriate themes and vocabulary. The boy in the story picked the biggest Lioness and beat her savagely over the head to make the other Lionesses cower in fear of him; twelve Lionesses “tore flesh from the Ogre” - this kind of visceral language and adult theme has no place in my child’s delicate mind & heart.
My poor girl has suffered nightmares for a whole week now.
When I suggested to the person who read the story, that it had not been age appropriate, the snappy retort was “well it’s not as inappropriate as Lord of the Rings!”.
So here is my caveat: I read my daughter ‘The Hobbit’ and I’m proud of it. We read all about the arduous journey through the snow and the wind, up the treacherous mountain paths; Tolkein’s visual descriptions of the landscapes are superb. Leelee goes to sleep and I read on through the chapters with the Goblins & Wolves who capture and plan to eat the dwarves.
The next evening, we join the characters on the next part of their journey. If any explanation is necessary, it is brief
Now they’ve passed the mountain after getting a little lost, the party has continued into the woods where the King of the Eagles has just rescued them…
It is heavily edited.
I assumed this was obvious. To me it is common sense that a parent adjusts literature to the level of their child’s emotional maturity.
I even edit out words like ‘stupid’ ‘dumb’ etc out of Enid Blyton books! The characters in my stories always interact respectfully with each other.