Who Is an Advanced Reader?
I constructed my own definition of an advanced reader rm using my own second grader as an example. Your child is an advanced reader and a bookworm if:
- They don’t need reminders, rewards, or any other encouragement to read.
- Started reading early or progressed very rapidly in their reading levels.
- No longer interested in most books recommended for their age.
- Choose reading over other activities, read to relax and chill out.
- Not intimidated by the length of the book or by font size.
- Can spend hours in the library.
- Might have a passionate interest in something and look for every possible book on that subject.
- Have good comprehension and usually test significantly higher than their age on reading and comprehension tests.
I chose to include favorite books of my daughter that she read on her own when she was six years old. She turned 7 in October 2013. I would love to hear your book suggestions for advanced readers in the comments section.
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Fiction Books for Advanced Readers
When my daughter reads fiction, she insists on clear separation between “real world” and “fantasy world”, but she likes both pure fantasy stories and fiction books set in real world. I am recommending two of each in this section.
We loved Grace Lin’s picture books when Smarty was younger, and now Smarty graduated to her novels. We got Where the Mountain Meets the Moon in the public library, and now it’s on our own Christmas book list for 2014. It’s a beautiful quest story with a female heroine who is aided by various characters on her way to see An Old Man in the Moon. The story is set in China, and there are many references to Chinese legends and folklore. It could be used in a unit study on China for older students.
The first person to get into Percy Jackson and the Olympians was my husband. He convinced me to read the first book, and we decided to give it to our daughter, since her overriding passion is mythology, especially Greek mythology. First she was reluctant (she was worried that it would be too scary), but she loved all five books of the Percy series except Atlas’ Curse (she didn’t like zombie warriors in that book). We gave her the second series (we own all Rick Riordan books on Kindle) as a present for her 7th birthday. I would strongly recommend not to give Percy Jackson series to kids if they are unfamiliar with Greek and Roman myths, because otherwise they will miss too much of a backstory.
Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol has been recently republished, and I am glad that my daughter can enjoy this classic set from days of less hectic childhoods. The best part of those books is that every story comes as a mini puzzle that reader can try to solve without looking for an answer in the end of the book. My daughter always enjoys these challenges, and wrote quite a few of Encyclopedia Brown’s books over the summer – luckily, my parents’ library had a big set, and now her school also has a full set.
Vet Volunteers by Laurie Halse Anderson is a series that we discovered recently when it arrived to our library. I like that a lot of time is spent on character development and characters tackling some moral challenges, but the main story line is about animals needing help and students (5th graders in book #1) helping in a veterinary clinic. The series starts with dogs and cats, but then progresses to horses and even to more exotic animals, such as manatees. Your pet lover will probably enjoy these books.
Non-Fiction Books for Advanced Readers
This year we bought and listened through all four volumes of The Story of the World during our various car trips. She also has these books on her music player and likes to listen to her favorite parts during her “rest time”. We also have all four books, and she sometimes consults them if she wants to look something up. We didn’t do a full on SOTW curriculum (who has time for that after school!), but she read a variety of history books (fiction and non-fiction) that explored some of her favorite topics further.
My second grader doesn’t like “true books” or fact-based books, she wants her facts to be wrapped up in an engaging story. She absolutely loves You Wouldn’t Want to Be series – they also use graphic novel elements to liven up their stories and make them entertaining by focusing on “gross” details. We own a couple of those books and read more from the library. They complement SOTW flow nicely, and can be read in any order as the main character is always a reader.
As I mentioned, advanced readers often have a passionate interest in certain topic or a set of topics. Our Smarty got interested in mythology at 5, and this interest is still going strong. Every time we go to the library, she checks myth section for books she hasn’t read yet, and she is getting this beautifully illustrated Treasury of Greek Mythology for Christmas this year. This book has myths sequenced in time and also explains some of the origins and interesting facts in inserts on every page.
Poetry for Advanced Readers
I firmly believe in reading good poetry to children from early age. The Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry is a great investment for your family that will last for many years. We bought it when our daughter 3, and read it many times together. Now she often reads her favorite poems by herself. The selection of poems is excellent, and they are also illustrated by many different kidlit illustrators. It’s really a feast both for your eyes and for your mind.
Our favorite poet is Jack Prelutsky. We love how inventive his poems are and how he is not afraid to use pretty “big” words in his poems. I jokingly call him a SAT poet, because we often need to look up word definitions for some of the words in his poems. He created several books in partnership with fantastic illustrator Peter Sis. All of them are worth checking out, but Scranimals happen to be our favorite.
For the longest time my daughter was a very reluctant writer, but now writing is not as exhausting physically for her as it used to be, and she starts making small stories. I hope that her interest in writing and in playing with words continues, and I try to encourage it with fiction and non-fiction books about writing. Smarty loves American Girl non-fiction series, and she enjoys flipping through this Writing Smarts book that we acquired at the library book sale. I am still waiting for that first poem though
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