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Why Series Are Great for Kids

July 15 2020

1. They like them.

If you want someone to get into reading, reading for pleasure is the best way to get them hooked. And in order to get them into reading for pleasure, they need to like the material. So at the first stage of turning your kid into an avid reader, whatever gets them to read is a win.

2. Series books mean recurring characters in a familiar setting.

This allows readers to practice reading without having to learn a whole new cast of characters and a whole new universe every time they pick up a book. When reading in itself is already a stressful activity, having to learn about the rules of a new universe and becoming familiar with new characters can make the task of reading seem even more daunting. Knowing the characters and the universe rules in advance means someone who’s still learning to read it can focus on the act of reading and the story rather than on learning the background information required to keep up with the story.

3. They help readers learn how to pick up things like foreshadowing and clues.

In the past, series books were frowned upon because they typically follow a plot formula that makes them very easy, predictable reads. What researchers have recently discovered, however, is that their predictability is part of what makes them so great for less practiced readers. Because series books tend to follow a certain formula, emerging readers start becoming trained to pick up certain clues about what’s going to happen next.

Series books are easy reads to practiced readers because they have already learned to pick up on the literary hints sprinkled throughout the stories, but they’re not so easy for kids still forming those skills.

If you ever read any Goosebumps as kid (or Nancy Drew, etc), go back and re-read a copy you really enjoyed back in the day. You’ll likely be able to pick out the twists before they happen because now you know what to look for, even if subconsciously, whereas when you were a child the now-obvious twists were utterly mindblowing.

4. They build up a child’s confidence in their reading abilities.

Learning to read is HARD. When you’re still not that great at it, it really is a chore, so it’s important to boost your mini-reader’s confidence as much as possible by making them feel like they’re good readers. Letting them breeze through a bunch of easier books is a good and simple way to accomplish that goal, as reading lots of books in a small period of time feels really impressive and satisfying to them.

5. Series books don’t discourage kids from reading more complex material. They encourage them.

Less practiced readers tend to read in cycles – they’ll read a few series books at the level they’re at, then pick up something more challenging, then read some more series books, and so on. Eventually their comfort level becomes too predictable and readers move on to the next level all on their own. Series books are like taking breaks between climbing up a hill – if you go too fast you crash and decide it’s too hard to keep going. If you pace yourself you make it to the top.

6. Nearly all heavy readers and book lovers began with series books.

Research on reading habits repeatedly find that the vast majority of adult avid readers began by practically inhaling any and all series books they could get their hands on when they were little, until they would get to a point where they were too good at a certain reading level and moved on to the next one (all the while trying a harder book every now and then).

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