Correne has been teaching for 15 years! She has experience in elementary, middle school, as well as, college level instruction. She has a Bachelor's Degree in elementary education and a Master's Degree in early literacy.
Children's Literature: Trends
Trends have the power to create lifelong readers. As educators, it's important to know the current children's literature trends and be reading the relevant books in order to recommend them to youth.
Series books, with multiple books following the same characters in the same world, are a trend that has been very popular for the past few years. Introducing kids to book one and helping them to build a relationship with the characters is a great foundation. Then you can encourage them to continue reading the rest of the series. This helps to establish children as lifelong readers.
Kindness (fighting against bullying) is another current trend that's excellent for helping young readers build character traits. These books focus on being kind to others and describe what true friendship is. Marie Unanue's The Adventures of Phatty and Payaso is about a band of diverse animals banding together to save a friend from a bully hawk. Latinx and autism spectrum characters also help to show differences and teach kids to be inclusive.
Recreating of classics is another trend in literature and movies today. The world of children's literature is seeing a lot of older classics being recreated for today's readers. Take the Nancy Drew series, for example, which is being rewritten and also created into graphic novels.
Graphic novels are both trendy and an excellent teaching tool. Graphic novels are full novels containing all of the usual components, including setting, problem, and solution, but they are written in comic book form. This allows children more success with completing a novel while challenging readers with making inferences and comprehension challenges.
Children's Literature: Issues
One issue that young children face is transitioning from the early and emergent stages of reading into chapter book reading. Children from first grade to third are the core age group for transitional literature. Children who are fluently reading early reader books are used to big words, few words on pages, pictures, etc. However, when they pick up a novel, there are often no pictures, long chapters, small print. This can be extremely overwhelming. A transitional book is a book designed to help ease young readers into chapter books. They have shorter chapters, larger words, some pictures, and topics that connect with the age group they are written for.
Some examples are:
- Elephant & Piggie by Mo Willems
- The Geronimo Stilton series by Geronimo Stilton
- The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne
- Stink by Megan McDonald
Young Adult Literature: Trends
Series novels in young adult literature are a huge trend as well. Similar to children's books, they get a reader hooked and wanting more. The series book helps young readers to keep reading.
Fantasy novels have kept up in popularity since the Harry Potter series in the 1990s. This genre is widespread and has topics for many young readers. Most popular today are dystopian novels and time travel novels. Realistic fiction is another popular genre today, especially those focusing on sensitive issues (cancer, suicide, death, etc.).
Young Adult Literature: Issues
The trends of young adult literature bring on some sensitive issues that teachers and parents must contend with. Books like 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher that explore suicide can make for very sensitive discussion. Many young people look for books that show them that they are not alone and literature that addresses sensitive topics can be recommended to students who are mature enough to handle them. A book dealing with suicide may be a tool for healing in the life of a young person contemplating suicide or dealing with a friend or family member lost to suicide.
In choosing literature for our students or making book recommendations, we need to know our audience. When we know our students and what interests them, as well as their ability levels, we are much better equipped to hand them a book they will love. One book series they get hooked on may allow them to appreciate literature and become lifelong readers.
Strategies Promoting Readers
Have you ever told someone how much you love a book? Did they go out and get the book for themselves after that conversation? Sometimes, it's just that easy. Promoting lifelong readers is all about getting a child or youth to read one great book! How do we do that? Let's look at a few strategies to help.
Discuss books! Create a short book talk to advertise a book in a quick and easy way to spread excitement. Begin with a hook to get your audience engaged. Then give a very brief synopsis of the book. Add in an excerpt from the book itself, but most important is to leave your listeners wanting more.
Use a reading interest survey to find out more about your students. This short survey should have questions about students' hobbies, attitudes toward reading, whether they like to read, what they like to read, etc. This provides you with information needed to recommend a perfect book.
Rave about reading and let students know that you read. Share with them what you're reading and what you read as a kid, and show them that you are a lifelong reader. Read with students and follow up by asking them what happened in the remainder of the book. Model for them what it means to appreciate literature. Take it to the next level by allowing them to recommend books to you and follow through by reading them.
Trends can enhance opportunities to share and recommend literature to students. Be familiar with the trends and issues and try to use them to stir up excitement and engagement. Current trends you'll see are series books, where multiple books follow the same characters in the same world, and graphic novels, which are full novels containing all of the usual components, including setting, problem, and solution, but they are written in comic book form. Other trends include fantasy, kindness (anti-bullying), recreating classics, and realistic fiction.
To help ease small children into reading longer-form books, transitional books have shorter chapters, larger words, some pictures, and topics that connect with the age group they are written for. In young adult literature, sensitive topics are trending to help young people know that they're not alone. Discuss books in book talks, use a reading interest survey, and share your own reading experiences to increase the appreciation of literature in young people.
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Children's Literature: Issues, Trends & Appreciation Quiz
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How can you encourage students to be lifelong readers?
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