As a young girl I could not get enough of Nancy Drew. I probably read every book published up to that time at least three times. While I had one librarian who frowned upon my constant diet of Drew, luckily I also had parents and teachers who encouraged me—something that I’m very grateful for because I am sure it’s because of this series that I’m a reader today. As I’ve worked with a wide range of readers, I’ve found that series books are often an important part of reading development. Becoming immersed in the adventures of a favorite character or revisiting a stunning world is something that is very comforting for a lot of people. Familiar comfort alone seems reason enough to enjoy books in a series. But research also shows that series are an important part of a young reader’s development. In fact, research has shown that the best readers and writers are often those who read series. This is because reading series books gives them the practice they need to learn how a story works and to get comfortable with literary conventions that govern all literature. Because they have reoccurring patterns, series books also allow readers to build stamina with long texts without having to be derailed by too many new elements. This was certainly my own personal experience. The patterns of Nancy Drew are what helped me focus on the things I struggled with without getting overwhelmed. They showed me that I could get lost in a book, thus helping me to build my reading confidence. With that confidence I progressed on to many other things. Even though I still love a good Nancy Drew story, I have a wide range of reading tastes today because of those first reading experiences. When your child reads books in a series over and over, remember that like all skills, reading takes practice. And, that here at Rachel’s World we believe that sometimes a series is just the right kind of practice.
By Rachel Wadham, Host of WORLDS AWAITING
Ward, B.A. & Young, T.A. (2007). What’s new in Children’s Literature? Engaging readers through series books. Reading Horizons, 48 (1), 71-80.
Ross, C. (1997). Reading the covers off Nancy Drew: What readers say about series books. Emergency Librarian, 24 (5), 19-22.
At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children. We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels. Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.