Cooler weather outside gives homeschoolers just one more reason to focus on reading! Although reading aloud is an excellent family activity for children of all ages, including those who have long been reading on their own, it is particularly important for children in elementary school. During this critical time period, parents have the opportunity to truly instill a love for reading that has the potential to influence the child’s academic development throughout his or her school years.
One of the challenging periods for children’s reading is the transition from picture books to chapter books. Younger elementary aged children who have moved beyond preschool storybooks may not yet be ready for the length and content of literature aimed at the older juvenile population. Although there are many excellent options for these students, series books are a great choice for this age group. Series books provide a wonderful opportunity to draw in reluctant readers, and incite the “what’s going to happen next” phenomenon as children get to know specific characters and look forward to their subsequent adventures. Here are some wonderful series books for children ages approximately 6-10:
- The Magic School Bus by Joanna Cole – This fun and informative series follows teacher Ms. Frizzle as she takes her students on field trips in their school bus, which is able to transform into all sorts of different tools and means of transportation. Along the way, the books share information about a variety of aspects of science. These books are filled with illustrations on each page, and although they are not chapter books, they pack excellent information into a fun adventure. Some of the titles include Inside the Earth, On the Ocean Floor, and Inside a Hurricane.
- Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder – This perennial favorite is the cream of the crop for children’s literature. Laura Ingalls Wilder writes about her family’s experiences from the late 19th century moving out west in a covered wagon, and building a life on the prairie. Full of warmth, close family relationships, adventure, and plenty of history about America’s frontier.
- Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren – Pippi is a delightful, creative, spunky nine-year-old girl who lives with just her pet monkey, after her seafaring father was blown overboard in a storm. She speaks her mind and is endowed with superhuman strength and coordination, as she tackles adventures in her own wacky way.
- Matt Christopher Sports, by Matt Christopher – This award-winning author (who passed away in 1997) has written classic sports books for children, which include both biographies on sports figures as well as fictional stories related to a variety of sports. Some of the different Matt Christopher series include stories related to basketball, baseball, hockey, football, lacrosse, soccer, running, extreme sports and more. This is a series that can be enjoyed by both genders, but is likely to be particularly appealing to boys.
- Ramona Quimby, by Beverly Clearly – Cleary is one of the most beloved authors in children’s literature, and has won numerous awards for her books. This series follows the life and adventures of imaginative Ramona, and her relationships with her friends and family – especially with her sister Beezus. There are 8 books in the series with Ramona as the main character.
- Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis – Arguably some of the best classic children’s novels ever written, the 7-book masterpiece begins with The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. The rousing adventures, brilliant fantasy, and compelling characters in each of the Narnia series not only provide children with writing of the highest level, but expose them to multi-layered symbolism, with clear Christian imagery. Although these books can be enjoyed by elementary children, middle school students, high school students and adults alike will fall in love with these incredible books.