Choosing Age Appropriate Books for your Advanced Reader.

The comment I hear from so many parents of middle grade (ages 8-12) readers is this:

“They read above their age level so I don’t think that they would be interested in middle grade level books” – “They are advanced readers so I am looking for young adult novels for them to read” or something similar to those statements.

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A common concern when your child reads above their actual grade/age level is that they will get bored easily. It can be very enticing to supply them with books that are intended for older readers BUT just because your reader CAN read above their age level – does not mean that they SHOULD be reading things that are above age appropriateness.

Straying outside of the industry set standards (ie. Middle Grade vs Young Adult vs New Adult) can be a recipe for disaster if you are not careful. Young adult novels often have very adult situations and language, as well as sexual situations that are not appropriate nor relevent for young readers no matter what their intellectual ability is. You don’t want to introduce situations that they are not emotionally or intellectually prepared for just because they are able to read at a higher level. Unless you are willing to do due diligence by researching or actually pre-reading the older books for your child it is best to stick with the books that have situations that will actually appeal to their age.

Middle grade themed books are more likely to reflect your readers experience and emotions – making what they are reading more relatable.

Here are some tips to choosing age appropriate books for your advanced readers:

Choose books in a series – This will keep them invested in the characters and the world created by the book , and hopefully they will be anticipating any new releases. Examples of great middle grade series to check out: Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, Percy Jackson, The Sisters Grimm, Inkheart, Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, Warriors, Artemis Fowl, Middle School, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Eragon.

Introduce them to Non-Fiction: Reading non-fiction books can really challenge your readers and it a perfect option for those who are typically reading above their grade level. It introduces them to the world around them and can help to increase their world knowledge and vocabulary.

Check out some classics: These stories have been around for a long time, for a good reason. They capture a specific time period and will take our readers back to a time and place that they might not have any idea about. They often tackle major issues that may still exist today or serve as a reminder to things that need to stay in the past. The writing styles are often different from what authors produce today and can challenge how the reader interprets the text. Here are some classics to look into: Anne of Green Gables, Narnia, The Giver, Hatchet, A Wrinkle in Time.

Read graphic novels: Graphic novels have changed so much in the past few years – you can get almost any popular novel in a graphic novel edition. Graphic novels cause readers who skim words to slow down and look at how the words and the images work together. When picking out GN for your reader be very careful that you are picking the right age group – there are many violent and sexually explicit GN available for purchase. Here are some that your reader might enjoy: Dogman, The Bad Guys, Babysitters club, Real Friends, Zita the space girl, Amulet.

These sites are always helpful to find out more about certain books your child might want to read:

https://www.goodreads.com

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews

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