By Elisabeth Schmitt
The struggles of getting a child to read are common and well-documented. However, What is one to do when a child is an avid reader? Satisfying their appetite for new stories can be an equally as frustrating situation. A child could easily be overwhelmed by the plethora of reading material that has just become available to them. Some more advanced books within the children’s genre can narrow down the child’s options.
When a young reader is particularly advanced in reading level, it becomes more difficult to find books that are appropriate for their age that also allow their interests to grow. Their sense of wonder combines with their new knowledge and basic chapter books are no longer enough.
A children’s book does not have to be either appropriate or challenging. These two qualities are not exclusive. While an advanced young reader may be tempted to move on to more “mature” material to satisfy their literary appetite, this is not always necessary.
It is possible to find content within the children’s genre that does not underestimate the child’s intelligence. A quick turn to the classic books in the children’s genre can meet everyone’s needs. The child is stimulated and satisfied with something at their reading level, while the parent is comfortable knowing that their child is not being exposed to anything intense or otherwise inappropriate.
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How classic children’s books can help advanced young readers
Classic children’s books are classic for a reason. They are timeless. These books satisfy the curiosity that lies within each child. They teach valuable lessons that readers need to learn. And, most importantly, they do not underestimate the capabilities of young readers.
Classic book series like The Chronicles of Narnia, Little House on the Prairie, and even Harry Potter all have these things in common. They handle complex situations within intricate storylines, all at a level that advanced young readers can simultaneously comprehend and be challenged by. Each series brings with it a pile of books to add to a growing reader’s bookshelf – books they can enjoy, be proud of, and likely pick up a second or third time.
Literary classics have retained their popularity for decades. They have been passed on through generations, guaranteeing a sentimental and fulfilling literary experience. When a child becomes immersed in a story, that story sticks with them for years to come. That is why advanced young readers should read stories that have been proven over time to be enjoyable and well-loved.
When it comes to the advanced young reader, his or her desire for new adventures can only grow. To foster this growth, they should be encouraged to read literature that satisfies their natural desire for adventure. A book series like Harry Potter will usually do the trick. While the vocabulary is accessible, its plot is adventurous enough to stimulate the child’s growing imagination.
An adventurous young reader with a slightly more advanced vocabulary will surely gravitate toward a classic series like The Chronicles of Narnia. This series takes its young protagonists on a never ending set of exciting adventures, and an advanced young reader will surely be enthralled.
For a child less interested in fantasy, a series like Little House on the Prairie is a fantastic choice. The characters are well rounded and the world is immersive, but not so far-fetched that it feels childishly fantastical. The reader is able to learn about what life was like in a different place and time, all the while experiencing the world through the eyes of its characters. The characters’ stories stretch across an entire collection of books, keeping the child occupied for a long time and encouraging them to read hundreds of pages of literature.
These series are not the only books your advanced reader could be interested in. One suggestion I always offer is to look at lists of award-winning children’s books from past years. Each year the Newbery Award is given to an outstanding book of the children’s genre. The award’s signature gold medal on the cover of a book is a sure sign that the book is going to be worth a read. The list of award winners can be found on the walls of most libraries as well as with a quick internet search and it is a great place to find your child’s next favorite book.
When a child suddenly becomes an advanced and interested reader, it is an exciting time. The massive world of children’s literature is becoming accessible to them and it can be overwhelming. However, with a look over some classic book series, the advanced young reader can keep their excitement about reading at a high level without becoming too overwhelmed. Allowing a child to immerse themselves in an intricate story with timeless characters will undoubtedly foster a lifelong love of reading.