The Power of Children’s Book Series | Series 1, Episode 12

A shelf of books.

Episode 12

Episode 12 show notes

To view or buy the books featured in this episode, please see the links below.

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Episode 12 transcript

How children’s book series can help develop reading for pleasure

A few thoughts on How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell

Let’s look at how book series can kick start independent reading and reading for pleasure.

Book series can inspire reading for pleasure, boost reading stamina and confidence, and enhance reading comprehension, empathy, and fluency. So, ensconce yourself in your custom bean-bagged reading corner and let’s begin to unpack how and why this happens.

Book series possess an undeniable allure for young readers, offering captivating narratives that continue across multiple volumes. One excellent example is the ubiquitous “Harry Potter” by J.K. Rowling. The enchanting seven-book series follows the journey of a young wizard, Harry Potter, as he navigates the magical world, battles dark forces, and discovers the power of friendship and courage.

Reading for pleasure is a powerful catalyst for nurturing lifelong readers. A fantastic example of a book series that cultivates reading for pleasure is “Percy Jackson & The Olympians” by Rick Riordan. This five-book series introduces readers to Percy Jackson, a demigod and modern-day hero, who embarks on thrilling adventures inspired by Greek mythology.

Reading stamina, the ability to sustain focused reading for extended periods is vital for academic success and genuine reading enjoyment. “The Magic Tree House” series by Mary Pope Osborne is an excellent choice for building reading stamina. With over 60 books, this series follows siblings Jack and Annie as they travel through time and space on exciting historical and mythical adventures. The Famous Five and Secret Seven by Enid Blyton, Beast Quest by Adam Blade, Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon, The Treehouse Series by Andy Griffiths and Horrible Histories by Terry Deary are also worth looking at for your classroom.

Book series empower young readers by providing a sense of accomplishment as they progress through the story arc. “Junie B. Jones” by Barbara Park is a wonderful series that boosts reading confidence. Junie B. Jones, a spirited child, navigates the ups and downs of school and friendships, resonating with early readers as they see themselves in Junie’s experiences. Similarly, Narnia, The Adventures of Tin Tin, Asterix, Swallows and Amazons, and Redwall all produce a sense of achievement when completed.

Reading comprehension is the cornerstone of literacy development. “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket is a complex and engaging series that enhances reading comprehension. As readers follow the unfortunate events of the Baudelaire orphans, they decode clues, analyse wordplay, and make connections to fully understand the mysterious narrative. Mystery stories are a great way to encourage comprehension skills by stealth. Nancy Drew, The Diamond Brothers, Enola Holmes and the Secret Lake are also worth looking at.

Book series often feature diverse characters facing various challenges and emotions, providing a window into different perspectives and life experiences. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney is a relatable series that cultivates reading empathy. The protagonist, Greg Heffley, shares his humorous and sometimes awkward journey through middle school, allowing readers to empathize with the universal experiences of growing up. Be sure to check out Kid Normal, Tom Gates, Big Nate and Wayside School as well.

Reading fluency, the ability to read effortlessly with appropriate speed and expression is essential for comprehension and enjoyment. “The Cat in the Hat” series by Dr Seuss is a classic example that enriches reading fluency. With its rhythmic and rhyming text, this beloved series helps young readers develop fluency and rhythm in their reading.

Book series create a sense of belonging within reading communities, with young readers sharing their experiences and excitement for upcoming releases. “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins is a series that sparked a global reading community. Through dystopian adventures, readers found common ground in discussions about survival, courage, and ethical dilemmas. Consider also the Giver quartet, Divergent, Robert Muchamore’s Robin Hood books and the Wings of Fire series.

Book series often pique children’s curiosity to explore related books and genres independently. “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis is a series that encourages independent reading. As readers venture into the magical land of Narnia through seven books, they discover various genres such as fantasy, adventure, and allegory.

Book series present characters encountering challenges, failures, and triumphs, offering powerful lessons in resilience and perseverance. “Matilda” by Roald Dahl is a heartwarming example that fosters a growth mindset. Matilda, a gifted girl, overcomes adversity and uses her intelligence to create a brighter future for herself and others.

The enchanting worlds and intriguing plots within book series spark children’s imagination and creativity. “The Land of Stories” by Chris Colfer is a series that sparks creativity. Readers join twins Alex and Conner on fairy-tale adventures where they meet classic characters and explore imaginative realms.

Book series often feature relatable young protagonists facing challenges and making significant contributions. “The Baby-Sitters Club” by Ann M. Martin is an empowering series that celebrates young voices. The club’s diverse members demonstrate leadership, entrepreneurship, and the power of friendship as they navigate the world of babysitting.

And there you have it — a few compelling reasons to consider when looking at why book series in children’s literature inspire reading for pleasure, reading stamina, confidence, comprehension, empathy, and fluency. Make sure your next class embarks on extraordinary reading adventures one series at a time!

For the details of the books featured please see our book series for children and teens list.

Episode 12 credits

To see full details of licensing information, creative commons, GNU license credits and other attributions that apply to every episode of this podcast, see our School Reading List podcast credits information page.

Credits specific to this episode

  • Kevin MacLeod – Bummin on Tremelo – (purchased lifetime extended licensed registered to Tom Tolkien license ID FML-170359-11969).
  • Listener submitted monologues from debut and self-published authors including: Katy on Broadway by Ella English, Movie Night with the Wizziwigs by Saxon North-Cornell & The 4th Dimension by Dr. Joseph J. Pamelia.

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About Tom Tolkien

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Tom Tolkien is a highly qualified (BA Hons, PGCE, QTS) children's literature expert and teacher with over 25 years of experience. He has led inset courses, developed curriculum materials, spoken at conferences, advised on longlisting for several international children's literature literature awards and written for educational publishers including contributing to a BETT award-nominated app. Social profiles: Twitter | Linkedin