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The Ravenous Reader

Teri Andrews Rinne
Truckee Children's Services Librarian

Last month I featured a two-part series on the reluctant reader. Just as there are challenges associated with raising a reluctant reader, there are also issues associated with keeping an ravenous reader satisfied. Ravenous readers tend to begin reading at a younger age, read at a higher reading level that their age peers and go through books more rapidly. It becomes a challenge to find materials that are psychologically and developmentally appropriate.

We must remind ourselves, although avid readers are advanced in reading, they are chronologically young, limited by their experiences and the level of their psychological and physical maturity. Although a 7-year old child may be reading at a high school level, materials that deal with puberty, sex, violence and other serious topics will not be understood or enjoyed. The intensity of some books can also disturb young children. For younger children reading above grade level, series such as the Magic Tree House, American Girls, Encyclopedia Brown, Little House on the Prairie, and the Boxcar Children are great choices.

Other books that will challenge the younger avid reader include anything by Roald Dahl, Ramona, Pippi Longstocking, the Borrowers, Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Charlotte ‘s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan. For slightly older avid readers, the Chronicles of Narnia, early Harry Potter and the Redwall series are fine choices. The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the Phantom Tollbooth, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Harriet the Spy, Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden are also great choices.

Typically avid readers read a greater variety of literature; they are more likely to branch out from realistic fiction to fantasy, historical fiction and biography.

Worried her child was spending too much time reading by himself, a mother admonished her son to go play outside. “But Mom,” he replied, “some of my best friends are books!” This became the title of a wonderful book by Judith Wynn Halsted, available at the Truckee Library. Halsted describes the role of books in a child’s development and summarizes the social and emotional needs of the gifted reader, from preschool through high school. It contains summaries of approximately 300 books, research on the reading needs of gifted children, questions to help facilitate discussion and an index of books organized by grade, subject and author.

Other books available at the Truckee Library with good ideas include “Great Books About Things Kids Love,” with more than 750 recommended books for children 3 to 14 and Esme Raji Codell’s “How to Get Your Child to Love Reading: For Ravenous and Reluctant Readers Alike.”

Library Hours

Monday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Tuesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Wednesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Thursday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Tuesday Toddler Time at 10:30 a.m. (ages 2 to 3 years)

Babes in Bookland on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. (ages 6 months to 2 years)

Storytelling with Mrs. Fix on Thursdays at 11:15 a.m. (ages 3 years and up)

Spanish Storytime on Fridays at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (ages 2 and up)

Bookshelf’s Dry Camp Book Club at the Library

Meets monthly at the Library. Participants at the book group meeting will receive a coupon for 15 percent off a one-time book purchase at the Bookshelf at Hooligan Rocks. Everyone is welcome.

Now on display at the library:

Portraits by Truckee artist Raphael Jolly

Above the Fireplace: Sand Harbor in oils by Linda D’Toole


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