Hook them on Reading with Book Series

Looking to help a child practice their reading? Hook a reluctant reader to encourage reading for fun?

Consider a book series. Visit any library and bookstore and you’re sure to see wide varieties of series on display. When you visit, you are sure to discover  …

  • Character-driven stories, with a main character who faces different events in each book. [e.g., Adventures of Riley, Elephant and Piggy, Roscoe Riley Rules, Magic Tree House]
  • Books with cliff hangers that keep you waiting until the next book to get answers [e.g., Catching Fire, Harry Potter]
  • Stand-alone books in a topical collection [e.g., National Geographic Readers, Child’s Play First Time Series]

As much as I love a great story that stands on its own with a finite ending, I have to admit a book series can be pretty awesome, too.

What’s so great about a book series?

Let’s face it, humans like serials. That inner *need* to DVR and binge watch every episode of Big Bang Theory applies to books, too: when we find something we love, we invest in it with time, emotion, and sometimes money. No matter what the medium, we’re hooked by …

  • Engaging plot lines (adventure, mystery, suspense);
  • Great storytelling (pushing/pulling emotions, making us laugh); and
  • Characters we love (or love to hate).

For young readers, book series can also offer the comfort of something or someone familiar. Characters become friends. For chapter books, in particular, they know (or at least have a sense of) what to expect. Ultimately, reading becomes less about the mechanical process and more about connecting with stories.This quote from a 2015 study explains it nicely

When students need to devote most of their attention to the process of reading, they are likely to miss out on the motivating experience of expanding their knowledge, or being entertained and inspired by what they are reading.

Isn’t that how we want kids to see reading? As inspirational, entertaining, and/or informative? The more they become personally invested, the more they want to read about their favorite character or a book in a series they love. Because they are continuing to read, they are becoming more efficient – and more successful. Just don’t tell them!

In our next post, we’ll have a short list of beloved picture book series