6 Reasons Why Series Books Are Great for Kids/Less Practiced Readers
1. They like them.
If you want someone to get into reading, they need to like the material. If it gets someone to read, that’s the most important thing.
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 to become familiar with.
It might not seem like a big deal to you or me, but to someone who’s still learning to read it takes off a huge part of the stress of picking up a new book, as it means they can focus on the reading and not on learning new info.
3. They help readers learn how to pick up things like foreshadowing and clues.
Because series books tend to follow a certain formula (e.g. in Harry Potter Harry starts at the Dursley’s, goes to Hogwarts, has some subplots surrounding a mystery, then faces Voldemort or another villain) readers start becoming trained to pick up certain clues.
If you ever read any Goosebumps as kid (or Nancy Drew, etc), go back and re-read a copy. I’ll bet you’ll be able to pick out the twists before they happen. That’s because now you know what to look for, even if subconsciously.
4. They build up a child’s confidence in their reading abilities.
Children like big numbers.
Reading lots of short books in a small period of time feels really impressive and satisfying to them. Remember bragging to your friends about how you read THREE WHOLE BOOKS over the weekend? Did the fact they were shorter books ever matter?
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 then pick up something more challenging then read some easier books, and so on.
Eventually the series books become too predictable and readers move on to the next level 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 repeatedly find that heavier readers began by practically inhaling any and all series books they could find, until they got 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).
That’s certainly how I learned.
The first books I read in English were Clifford and Biscuit. Then I moved on to Little Critter and Franklin the Turtle books. I soon moved to chapter books like Magic Tree House, Bailey School Kids, and Captain Underpants.
By Grade 6 (roughly a year after learning English) I scored “Grade 12 or higher” in the provincial reading ability test.