Illinois Association for Gifted Children

October 2020 Question of the Month: What Tricks or Treats Would Help Me Support My Child Who is an Advanced Reader?

10/20/2020 11:25 AM | Anonymous member

Advanced readers are often avid readers, quickly digesting books in the children’s section that are available in the classroom, home, and local libraries. But it can be tricky to find new avenues to expand and enrich the reading repertoire for young, advanced readers. For example, books that have a high reading level may also include mature themes that are not “age appropriate” for some children. Or, children with strong interests in one area may not be motivated to expand their reading selections beyond their favorite texts. 

Thankfully, to support your advanced reader, “tricks” are unnecessary. However, here are a few “treats” that may be helpful:

  • Search lists of award-winning texts. 

  • Explore diverse cultures and authors. The following links offer several text suggestions to deepen your child's understanding:

  • Make time for family read-alouds. Do you have a challenging text that you feel your child would enjoy, but it is still beyond his or her independent reading level? Family read-alouds that feature more challenging texts can be a great way to spend time together and introduce new books.

  • Empower your child.Consider asking your child to take the lead and choose the book the parent or family member will read during shared independent reading time. Once parents have had a chance to enjoy and discuss a child’s favorite books, maybe the child will decide that the parent can have a turn to choose next time!

  • Enliven book discussion. Invite your child to choose a few book discussion questions using SEM-R Bookmarks found on the University of Connecticut Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development Website

  • Consult with your local library’s youth services specialist. Do not miss the opportunity to tap in to expertise on children’s literature. Your library’s youth services specialist may have several suggestions for reading selections that will appeal to your child’s interests, age group, and reading level.

  • Embark upon a Dewey Decimal System treasure hunt. In public libraries, books are subdivided by groupings. Examples of main groupings include 000–099, general works; 100–199, philosophy and psychology; 200–299, religion; 300–399, social sciences; 400–499, language; and 500–599, natural sciences and mathematics.These groups are further broken down into subcategories. Challenge your child to find the “Dewey Decimal System” numbers for a few areas of interest and go “treasure hunting” in a few different libraries to find books shelved under your child’s favorite categories. This can be a mind-opening adventure to engage your child with reading and information gathering.

  • Introduce texts of varying genres. Although your child may love fiction or history and read at advanced levels in those areas, it is important to provide exposure to a variety of genres. Encourage your child to try poetry, non-fiction, graphic novels, how-to books, autobiographies and short stories. 

    • Looking for non-fiction for a young reader? Here are a few series to explore--some with a Halloween flair!: 

      • Terry Deary, Horrible Histories

      • Nick Arnold, Horrible Science 

      • Eyewitness Books

      • Usborne Beginners History

      • National Geographic for Kids

  • Note Your Child’s Favorite Authors. There may be several other books by these authors that your child might enjoy. 

  • Subscribe to a children’s online or paper magazine related to your child’s interest. Digital magazines are often available for free from your public library. Your child may enjoy short articles on topics of interest that increase domain-specific vocabulary and are fun to share and discuss with others.

  • Let Reading Be a Joy. 

    • Keep reading recreational and beyond reading for work, school,and to keep up on current events. 

    • While introducing new texts, don’t worry if your child still returns to re-reading “old favorites.” 

Look beyond the value of reading for “challenge.” Reading is, indeed, a lifelong  “treat,” that we hope will provide years of pleasure, comfort, and inspiration for your child!

-The IAGC Education Committee

Contributors: Patsy Steinmeyer, Michele Kane, Susan Corwith, Laura Beltchenko, and Beth Dirkes

SAVE THE DATE:  Education Consultant, Laura Beltchenko, will present an IAGC virtual parent workshop on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 for parents, Beyond the Book List: Nurturing Readers Who Assimilate and Ponder What They Read 

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Illinois Association for Gifted Children

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