Reading Lists: Choosing Books for Your Advanced Reader
Your advanced reader will continue to excel if the books you select for his reading lists introduce different subjects, cultures, and ideas. Just as it is a good idea to check if the vocabulary in a book is too advanced, it is also important for the books to introduce new vocabulary. Selecting books to create reading lists from different genres, such as nonfiction, poetry, science fiction, and mystery will not only showcase different vocabularies, but also present new worlds of possibility and learning.
Advanced readers tend to be voracious, reading three to four times more books in a year than average readers, which makes series a great choice. If you find a novel in a series that your child is interested in, check that the content is appropriate and then you can probably let her loose reading the whole series of books. Add them all to her reading lists!
Books About Exceptional People
Many advanced readers are gifted in other subjects and may feel isolated or different from other children their age. Books about geniuses and exceptional children (both nonfiction and fiction) are great choices for your child's reading lists.
To get your fast reader to slow down and notice the wonderful nuances of language, poetry is a superb choice. Poems are rich with unusual words and metaphors that show your child new and different ways that language can be used and give inherent lessons in meter and rhyme.
The Newbery Awards, given annually to the best of children's literature, are great books for advanced readers. Most are written from the point of view of adolescents, and deal with major issues such as moving, growing up, sickness, poverty, and death. Also consider Coretta Scott King Award winners, which honor books that "promote an understanding of the American dream" written by authors of African descent. For older readers, use the Michael L. Printz Award for Teen Literature to find excellent reads for your child's reading lists.
Most likely, your advanced reader is eager to choose his own books, including adult fiction. Adult fiction can be a wonderful choice and should be encouraged, though you will probably want to check reviews and blurbs of the books to make sure the novel doesn't hold any content you object to. Some parents believe that children's reading choices shouldn't be censored, while others feel it is okay to say no to books. Whichever side you stand on, guide him to the books you loved in high school and connect with your child as you discuss and rediscover great literature.