Reading a book series is a common experience among children from early elementary and on. In my early elementary years, I wasn’t much of a reader (gasp!), and it’s my why for entering this career. Don’t get me wrong. I was a good reader, but I just didn’t love it. However, one of my favorite memories as a child came from reading Beverly Cleary’s Ramona series. I really connected with Ramona and her silly antics, and that’s when I began to enjoy reading.
As a teacher or a parent, you’ve probably encountered a child who may not like to read. This feeling may come from a lack of confidence, lack of background knowledge, poor decoding skills, poor reading fluency, or word knowledge. It may also be that he/she has had a negative experience with reading. Making connections with a favorite book series can make a HUGE difference. In this post, I will share the benefits I’ve seen reading a book series provide.
How my favorite book series made a difference
Growing up, I was not an avid reader, but as I mentioned, Ramona made all the difference in my life. It both entertained me (seriously would laugh out loud) and gave me connections because Ramona was just like my little sister. Kids need to make connections with their books. They need to see themselves in what they read and see that reading can be fun too.
How reading a book series can benefit your students
1) discovering dreams, goals, and life lessons
With some book series, we’re able to watch the character grow up. We might see them pursue their dreams and goals, and therefore, we might discover our own. From favorite characters to thrilling plots, the books I read taught me a lot of valuable lessons that I still carry with me today. I certainly learned lessons from Ramona, Amelia Bedelia, Nate the Great, and more!
2) background knowledge helps support comprehension
Reading these books was like watching T.V. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. I gained background knowledge from the previous book. I connected with the characters and developed empathy for them. They become predictable, and for most books, the vocabulary is consistent.
3) Students learn to anticipate the parts of a story based on prior reading
I understood plot structure and the importance of characters and setting. If you’ve read a few books in a series already, you can better predict how the plot will go and how characters will respond. Truly, reading a book series is a great place to start to get your reluctant readers reading.
4) Students get familiar with the author’s words and language
Authors tend to be consistent with the level of words they use. They are able to choose a target audience and hit that reader’s reading level. Also, students become familiar with the characters and their traits.
5) students get enthusiastic about finishing the series
Do your students race to finish new books? I saw that so often in my room. My kids got very competitive to finish the book series first. This seemed to help my readers build enthusiasm. We know that book discussions can really move the needle in motivation.
6) book series provide a platform for kids to learn about diverse characters, cultures, and real-world themes
Finally, a great series can help expose our kids to diverse cultures and real-world themes. This, to me, is a big deal. I grew up in a nearly 100% Caucasian community (Iowa), so books were a HUGE help in learning about other cultures, customs and traditions, and most importantly, the struggles others face. It’s important for kids to learn and appreciate others along with empathy for things kids deal with. A good book series will engage children with exciting plot lines that teach with examples.
7) A Book Series helps students build stamina and energy
When a reader becomes familiar and connects with the characters and plot, they want to know what’s going to happen to them next and will want to read another book in the series. This helps build stamina and energy to develop higher-level comprehension skills. As kids work their way up in level and length with the series they choose, more time and space is spent on increasing stamina. As their comprehension and fluency grows, so does their reading confidence!
8) Finally, A book series build background knowledge
Readers are also gaining background knowledge of the characters and plot from the previous books. This background knowledge is essential in helping make and refine predictions throughout the book. Reluctant readers often take comfort in the predictability of the plot structure, setting, and familiar text features.
which book series are best for each grade level?
My focus is on the elementary grades, but I try very hard to keep on top of what kids are reading and enjoying. I have developed activities to go with quite a few book series, but certainly, it’d be tough to have something for them all considering that there are new books published all of the time. However, I’d love to share a few of the popular choices of kids I’ve taught through the years. I will include both picture books and novels. This can be so helpful for parents who either pick them up at the library or who like to give books as gifts. I have created a downloadable list you might find handy
get your free book list and activities:
other posts you might like:
- HOW AUTHOR STUDIES IGNITE LEARNING AND A LOVE OF LITERACY
- 8 REASONS WHY AUTHOR STUDIES ARE A MUST FOR ELEMENTARY
- HOW TO TEACH TOMIE DEPAOLA LIKE A PRO
book series resources in my shop:
- Product on saleHenry and Mudge Activity Bundle, Comprehension Lessons, Writing Extensions
- Product on saleStrega Nona by Tomie DePaola Literacy Bundle in Digital and PDF
- Product on saleFrog and Toad Series Book Companions Bundle
- Product on saleMercy Watson Bundle of Book Companions Reading and Writing Activities
Truly, so many of my kids through the years found a love of reading EVEN after years of struggling just by finding the right book. My best advice…talk to them. Find out what they’re interested in. Select books to share strategically in order to entice them, and no matter what…don’t give up on them.