It makes it quite challenging to guess which of the many alternatives the word will be, and, like for example, in the savannah [The Savannah Animals] book, leaves one at a complete loss as to how the names are pronounced (eg. the nu, naw, no type of bull, the arabic text is just نو).
In books for very young readers who are starting to read (ages 3 to 6 or 7), we make sure to add the “tashkeel” to all the words. However, in books for older kids we tend to decrease the tashkeel, because the child by now is more capable of reading (they would read comic strips like Mickey for example without needing the tashkeel).
Moreover, we have books for 6+ children that is specifically designed as readers, i.e. books that teach reading in Arabic. These books ha[ve] full tashkeel because this is what they are used for.
My friend’s query made me go back through a number of books, and I couldn’t quite predict when tashkeel would be used. Yes, they tend to be for the younger ones. And no tashkeel in the comic books. But in some books for the 0-3 set, such as BQFP’s الصواريخ الحمراء وجيلي القوس قزح, and other beginner books, such as Paradise Books’ حيوانات ألمزرعه, I found no tashkeel. Perhaps publishers intend for parents to read these books to children, but easy books are also a good way to start kids reading on their own (or, better yet, to a younger sibling).
My friend managed to get the last word:
Tashkeel, in my humble opinion and experience, not only helps you read but it lends meaning and grammatical significance to the words, and as arabic nahw is… a complex one, tashkeel is in no way something to be dismissed, it is not an embellishment, it is part and parcel of the language.
[I]t makes no sense to me, in all honesty, that you say it is not used for seasoned readers, cause these, especially, need the tashkeel to eliminate guess work and hesitancy in their reading—which, being proficient should be devoid of these, thanks to… tashkeel!
I’d be interested in your thoughts. When are tashkeel useful in children’s books? Should children graduate away from them? When/how?