Sunday, May 18, 2008

Series Series Series

My students read lots of series. Some of my students' favorites this year have been: the Twilight series, the Uglies, Pretties, and Specials series, the Warriors series, the Deltora series, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, the Cirque Du Freak series, the Percy Jackson series and the Hank Zipzer series. Yeh, my kids are all over the map on both their reading and interest levels.

I don't have any questions about the value of reading series. Of course I know they're rarely spectacular literature, but they hook kids into reading, build their vocabulary and fluency, and I think they're actually quite wonderful for my kids who are still mastering English because they are fairly predictable and you don't have to learn new characters and settings for each book. A Children's Literature professor once had us put our heads down and answer two questions: Did you read series books as a kid? Are you an avid reader today? Usually, adults who answer yes to one question, answer yes to both.

For the series that my students love I often wonder how many books in each series I ought to read. I like to be able to talk to my students about the books they're reading, but I can usually only handle one or two books per series, and once I've read enough to "hook" my kid readers, I don't feel motivated to read the entire series myself. What about you?

Also, what are some of your favorite series, or ones that are big hits with kids you know?


TRMite said...

well, I haven't read all these but I've read enough to say that some of these are very high quality so I beg to differ on that account. I read the bottom of the barrel series when I was that age (babysitter club and sweet valley) and I do think a book that goes on for five volumes is a very different class of series that one that goes on for 40. good for kids to read either, sure -- but don't you view them with distinction?

Staci Caldwell said...

Reading trashy books in your spare time is a real-life skill. What I mean is, in their choice reading time it's their choice. I don't usually care what quality books they're reading as long as they're reading and they're enjoying it. Because I control what we read during shared readings and in small reading groups, I really see their independent reading time as a time for them to develop their preferences.

teach people not books said...

I love your blog! Please take a look at mine... I'm new but hope to use the space as a way to process my first year of teaching (and beyond?) and my feelings about literacy education, and educational isssues in general.

Moving into my first year of teaching this September, I will absolutely be stocking my shelves with the Ender's Game series. I have been a huge fan of Orson Scott Card since I was a teenager. His series is rich with interpersonal relationships, moral and social dilemmas, and a whole host of situations that require the reader to think very seriously about his or her own prejudices. The Ender's Game series is certainly going to appeal to the sci-fi/fantasy readers, but other readers who may not be as comfortable with these genres will find that this series cannot be so simply defined. They will be hooked, for sure!