I always recommend parents raise their children on classic literature, so I'm going to share with you a comment from one of my Lost Tools Curriculum moms, that made me really happy. But first let me say that if your children grow up reading the classics they will always be able to read difficult literature and all doors to great literature and knowledge will be open to them. Not to mention that they will be able to think, speak, and write at higher levels too. On the contrary, if they grow up reading simple literature, they will struggle to read anything of real substance later. Reading the classics also trains you in the essential skill of understanding human nature: why people do the things they do and how to recognize the good person from the bad person, to put it simply. Shakespeare was the all-time master of this. And now, for the comment, especially posted for those of you who fear the classics might be too difficult:
"Dear Elizabeth, I too felt very intimidated by classic literature before. Especially since I never had any exposure to the works before, because I was a product of the dumbed-down public schools. Also, growing up I did not have a very literary-rich home. Now that I have begun to read your recommendations to my children, I see what I have been missing. We need to remember that exposing our children at a young age to these masterpieces of classic literature will enrich their education and childhood for that matter. It opens their imagination, and gets them to think and appreciate the classics. My son's reaction to "The happy Prince" gave me so much pleasure. It reminded me that he is not too young and young hearts can easily be touched, even if the vocabulary of the book is above their level. I pray that all parents of young children realize this." K. Lynn
So, there you have it! The truth is, if you let your children read dumbed-down literature they will grow lazy and it will be a difficult habit to correct later. Be careful in choosing your literature too, as many book recommendation sites for the classics are no longer featuring just classics. It is fairly safe to stick to literature prior to the 1950's, though I'm not exactly sure where the cut-off point is (I have to look into this for you) and I'm sure that there were some good things written afterwards too. But, if you are uncertain then safe is better than sorry; that's my motto when it comes to educating children. Charlotte Mason warned us about not exposing our children to the common things in the world or they would develop a taste for them. It's a tall order these days, but we should still aim high.