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Why Children Should Read Fiction – A Lot

Geoff Nixon

By Geoff Nixon

The Benefits of Fiction Books Are More Than You Think

Fiction books offer reading for pleasure, escapism, transportation into other worlds or even stretching our own world, and the benefits don’t stop there.

The benefits of reading fiction books include developing empathy, which is a crucial life skill. Although students with learning difficulties may be hesitant to explore fiction, as a parent, it is vital that you encourage them to do so. One of the ways we recommend doing this is to talk to their peers, find out what they’re reading and talking about. That’s a great way to hook your teen into reading even more by leveraging off their interests!

If your child is reading with critical comprehension, there is so much value in reading a great novel, making it even more important to deal with a reading delay as soon as possible.

Reading Fiction Helps Social and Emotional Growth

The benefits of fiction books include children’s cognitive, emotional, and social development:

  • Language Development: Fiction books expose children to rich and diverse vocabulary, sentence structures, and literary devices. Through exposure to varied language, children can improve their reading comprehension and writing skills.
  • Empathy and Understanding: Fictional stories often feature diverse characters and complex situations, allowing children to gain insight into different perspectives, cultures, and experiences. This can foster empathy and compassion as children learn to understand and relate to others.
  • Imagination and Creativity: Fiction encourages children to use their imagination and creativity to visualize characters, settings, and events described in the book. This imaginative play can stimulate cognitive development and problem-solving skills.
  • Critical Thinking: Reading fiction requires children to analyze characters’ motivations, understand plot developments, and interpret themes. This process fosters critical thinking skills as children learn to evaluate and interpret the text.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Fictional stories often explore themes of friendship, love, loss, and resilience, allowing children to engage with complex emotions in a safe and controlled environment. This can enhance emotional intelligence and help children develop coping strategies for real-life challenges.
  • Cultural Literacy: Fiction exposes children to different cultures, traditions, and historical periods, helping them develop cultural literacy and a broader understanding of the world. This can promote tolerance, acceptance, and appreciation for diversity.
  • Escapism and Relaxation: Fiction books provide a form of escapism for children, allowing them to immerse themselves in a different world. This can promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.
  • Bonding and Connection: Reading fiction together can strengthen the bond between children and caregivers. Shared reading experiences create opportunities for meaningful conversations, bonding, and building relationships.

Overall, fiction books offer a wide range of benefits for children, supporting their intellectual, emotional, and social development while fostering a lifelong love of reading.

What About Series Books?

Some question the value of a child reading a number of books by the same author, with events in the same setting.  While there is something to those concerns, there are real values to reading a book series:

  1. Continued Engagement: Series books have recurring characters and ongoing storylines, which make it easier for children to immerse themselves in the story.
  2. Character Development: Series books often provide more in-depth character development than most children’s books, which helps build a stronger connection to the characters and to witness their growth and transformation over time.
  3. Exploration of Themes: Series books frequently explore recurring themes and motifs across multiple installments. This provides children with opportunities to delve deeper into complex themes such as friendship, courage, and resilience, fostering critical thinking and empathy.
  4. Encouragement of Reading Habits: Once children find a series they enjoy, they often become avid readers, eagerly seeking out the next book in the series. This can foster a lifelong love of reading and encourage children to explore a wide range of literary genres and styles.

Overall, reading books that are part of a series by one author can provide children with a rich and rewarding reading experience, supporting their literacy development, imagination, and enjoyment of literature.

Popular Fiction Book Reading  Series

Here are some well-known series for children:

  • Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne – This series follows siblings Jack and Annie as they embark on adventures through time and space with the help of a magical tree house.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney – This humorous series follows middle schooler Greg Heffley as he navigates the ups and downs of adolescence through his illustrated diary entries.
  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan – This fantasy series follows Percy Jackson, a demigod son of Poseidon, as he battles monsters and navigates the world of Greek mythology.
  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – This beloved fantasy series follows young wizard Harry Potter and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley as they attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and battle the dark wizard Voldemort.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis – This classic fantasy series follows the adventures of children who discover the magical land of Narnia and encounter talking animals, mythical creatures, and epic battles between good and evil.
  • Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park – This humorous series follows the misadventures of kindergartener Junie B. Jones as she navigates school, friendship, and family life.
  • Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey – This irreverent series follows best friends George and Harold as they create comic books featuring their superhero alter ego, Captain Underpants.
  • Geronimo Stilton series by Geronimo Stilton (pseudonym) – This adventure-filled series follows the exploits of Geronimo Stilton, a mouse journalist and reluctant hero, as he travels the world and solves mysteries.
  • The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner – This classic mystery series follows the adventures of the Alden siblings as they solve mysteries and uncover secrets while living in a boxcar.
  • The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin – This beloved series follows a group of friends who start a babysitting business and navigate the ups and downs of adolescence and friendship.

Again, series offer an opportunity for your child to get more in-depth with characters and settings, and to develop a reading habit. So embrace reading series!

Recommended Fiction Books

Here is a quick list of beloved fiction books for different age groups:

  1. Ages 0-3:
    • “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown
    • “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
    • “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle
  2. Ages 4-7:
    • “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak
    • “The Gruffalo” by Julia Donaldson
    • “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss
    • “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats
  3. Ages 8-10:
    • “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White
    • “Matilda” by Roald Dahl
    • “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling
    • “Percy Jackson & the Olympians” series by Rick Riordan
    • “The Chronicles of Narnia” series by C.S. Lewis
  4. Ages 11-13:
    • “The Hunger Games” trilogy by Suzanne Collins
    • “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio
    • “Holes” by Louis Sachar
    • “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson
    • “The Giver” by Lois Lowry
  5. Ages 14 and up:
    • “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
    • “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green
    • “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
    • “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak
    • “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher

For more recommended books for younger children here, and for 9 to 11 year olds here.

When choosing books, it is not only important to consider your child’s interests, and maturity level. You should also consider reading ability, choosing “just right books.”  Additionally, involving children in the book selection process can help foster a love for reading and ensure they find stories that resonate with them.

Finally, if your child is delayed in reading, rather than pushing books that are beyond your child, it is advisable to deal with the reading delay first.  You do not want to jeopardize a lifelong reading habit by having your child associate books with anxiety or unwanted pressure.  If you think your child is behind with reading, Gemm Learning might be able to help,. Call us here to find out if your child is a candidate for our program.

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