Would you like your kids to read more? So would we!
Children’s lives—and that of their parents—seem to be far busier than in the past. There’s more competition for the quality time you spend with your kids, and the last thing you want is to waste that precious time reading mediocre books.
There are lots of ways you can encourage your children to develop a love of learning, and one of the best ways is to let them choose their books and explore book series.
Why a book series? Great advantages!
If you’re looking for books for your kids to read, consider children’s books that come in a series. They’re wonderful for so many reasons.
Book series come in two types, either sequential books where the plot is connected through the books chronologically and non-sequential, where each book has an independent story with recurring characters and settings. The first have to be read in order from book one to the final installment in the series (like Harry Potter), while the second can be read in any order (like The Famous Five).
1. Better academic performance
Studies show that children who choose their books become better readers and read more frequently for fun. The research suggests that reading for pleasure is linked to better performance on standardized tests and better academic achievement.
In fact, research conducted at the University of Maryland found that when students are given limited choices from a collection of books, it helped improve their performance on standardized tests, particularly the reading comprehension section.
Other studies show that book series get kids to read but even more importantly introduces them to the textual and visual patterns of books, like plot, characterization, chapters, and dialogue.
2. More Reading!
When kids find a book they like, they’ll want to immediately read all the books in that series. Encourage them, even if you think they should be reading more variety – the fact that they’re choosing to read themselves and are engaged and motivated to read is great news.
Reading a book series, kids will develop a pleasure and love of reading, and they’ll be enthusiastic about what they’re reading.
No better way to encourage a lifelong love of reading.
3. Shared interests
Kids who read book series display a certain interest in the topic or the style of reading. This is something that you can share with your kids. They can also share the series and engage more with other children, friends of the family, cousins, or other kids in school they wouldn’t otherwise have anything in common with.
You can also develop more activities around that book series. For example, if they loved The Hunger Games, go camping and explore your survival skills together, take them to see the movie, or get them pretend to write a letter to President Snow to end the Hunger Games (or use it as a civic engagement activity and encourage your kids to write to your president about a cause they care about).
4. Complexity and richness
Book series are a great idea for another good reason: they offer a lot of complexity and richness. Book series can go very deep and develop more complex characters and plots that keep kids interested. There’s a richness in book series, and their popularity means they’re likely ro be developed further in many different angles and formats, like theatre plays, dances, or songs. And this means that kids can learn to love those other mediums, too.
5. Comprehension and confidence
When kids read book series, there’s an element of predictability of what they can expect from the story.
It can be easier for kids to read when they have an idea and understanding of the setting, characters, and plot of a book series. Kids have more comprehension support in book series: each new book in the series follows and builds on the first, making it easier for kids’ comprehension.
It’s a wonderful thing to see a kid enjoying reading, and feeling really good at it! Book series make it easier for kids to understand what’s going on in the book, and this increases their feeling of competence. As their comprehension and fluency grows, so does their reading confidence
Relax, it’s just a phase!
Trust your kids to make their own choices about what they want to read, and let them explore genres (even the ones you don’t like).
If you find that your kids are reading too much of the same thing (or something that you don’t feel is well written or deserves their attention), or you’d like them to broaden their horizons, just be patient. Most likely, it’s all a phase — and it’s an important one. They’re exploring something new, and most importantly, they’re enjoying reading about it. Chances are it will pass, and your kids will move onto other books – and by then, they’ll have improved their literacy, reading skills, and reading confidence. Win-win, if you ask us!