Have you ever had a conversation with your five-year-old about quantum mechanics, medieval Europe, or the connection between dinosaurs and birds? If so, you are probably a parent of an avid reader. For many of our families, the challenge is finding age-appropriate reading material for young and advanced readers. Whether you’re building a homeschool literature curriculum, supplementing a favorite subject, or just looking for fun reads, we hope the following ideas help you and your reader find your next book!*
Adopt one of our favorite books. Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers from Pre-School to High School by Judith Halsted is wonderful bookshelf addition for many families. A significant portion of the book focuses on choosing books that challenge gifted readers. Halsted provides book suggestions across developmental levels and literary types, in addition to opportunities for critical thinking. In addition to plot summaries and discussion ideas based on the characteristics of gifted young people, these bibliographies are also categorized by themes such as achievement, fitting-in, moral concerns, and perfectionism, to name a few.
Consult your local librarian. Librarians are valuable resources for identifying age-appropriate material and are also knowledgeable about how to make your local library system work for you. Not to mention the books, audiobooks, and other resources are free of cost to your family! You might also check out the annual Notable Children’s book list published by the committee of the Association for Library Service to Children.
Explore book lists from some of our friends in the gifted community. It certainly does take a village to satiate the reading appetites of precocious kids! Why stand on the shoulders of others who have already selected some great titles. Some of the book lists we enjoy follow:
Try a book-themed subscription box. There are also many services today that offer a twist on the book-of-the-month idea, including Once Upon a Book Club, The Book Drop, Bookcase.Club and GiftLit. These might help your reader discover new books or read something outside their comfort zone. The nice surprise of receiving a package may also inspire them to read even more!
Magazines can be a great reading supplement. Sometimes it is hard to want to pick up book when you’re short on time or quickly lose interest in a subject, which is why magazines can be a way to engage with advanced reading with fewer time commitments. Cricket magazines, in particular, are very popular within the Young Scholar community. In addition to magazines written for young people, many profoundly gifted children enjoy magazines written for the general public such as Astronomy, Make:Magazine, Natural History, and Scientific American.
Join an online reading group or reading course. Online courses can connect your child to other advanced readers throughout the country. The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Young Readers’ Series is one popular class series. You could also try a Popular Young Adult Fiction class from Davidson: Explore, one of the Classical Literature courses from the Lukeion Project, many unique literature themed courses from OnlineG3, or a Reading for Deep Thinkers course from Athena’s Academy.
Because many children in our community read so voraciously, the struggle to find good book recommendations is ongoing. We like to think that running out of books is a “good problem” when it comes to raising a gifted child! While there are many resources for advanced readers available online, parents may still want to preview these to make sure that are appropriate in terms of reading level and content. We encourage you to add a comment below to this article to trade titles with the community on any of your favorite books for gifted and advanced readers!
*Some links on this page go to Bookshop.org and are affiliate links. While these books are available from many retailers, all links that go to Bookshop.org help support the Davidson Institute’s mission and continuing work to support profoundly gifted students and their families.
My (highly gifted) husband wrote and illustrated a 3 novel series for our gifted daughter. Since the first 2 have been on Amazon (originally Create Space) for many years, we are researching how best to market his books again now his 3rd is in the formatting stage. I happened upon your article and have found it to be very helpful for our data and resource gathering stage. Thank you so much for taking your time to share. 🙏🏻
(And, if you are at all curious to further investigate, his book series is “Lillybeth and Hinsberth” by R.S. Markel. They are beautiful and filled with positive messages. But of course, I am partial.)
Thank you again!
With gratitude and wishes for a lovely day!
- Cheryl Markel