The Perils of Precocious Readers: Finding appropriate titles for advanced kids

By Melody Palmer, Youth Librarian, South Broken Arrow Library

Often, parents of advanced readers struggle to find appropriate reading materials for their children. They frequently find books that challenge their child intellectually...but broach topics that children are not ready for emotionally at a tender age. So what can parents suggest that might interest their precocious child? Many classic works are appropriate for children reading at a 5th to 9th grade reading level.

Some authors to consider for these children to read alone OR to read with parents include:

  • Agatha Christie
  • Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Alexander Dumas
  • Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Johanna Spyri
  • Lois Lowry
  • Madeleine L'Engle
  • Jane Austen
  • Louisa May Alcott

Good series include:  

  • The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Chronicles of Narnia
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Percy Jackson
  • Harry Potter
  • Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Nancy Drew
  • Hardy Boys

Parents could also consider reading through all Newbery Award winners and Honor books, Sequoyah Children's and Intermediate Award winners (this is the Oklahoma book award for children), national awards such as Coretta Scott King Award, or the Pura Belpre Award with their precocious readers.

Studies show that children benefit from adults reading aloud to them even into teen years, as discussed in an earlier Kids Read post. Many classic books are prime candidates for family read-alouds. Another thing to think about when selecting books for advanced readers is keeping the "fun" in a child's reading. There's no shame in children reading something very easy for them if they love a series or a subject; it actually helps to build even more reading fluency. As an added bonus, readers tend to pick up bits of information to store away for later use even from simple pleasure reading. For newer authors appropriate for your child, please feel free to visit your local branch library and visit with the Youth Librarian or Associate for ideas.

Happy precocious reading with your children!


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