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Advanced Pre-Teen Readers #2: Classics

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APTR2: Digging into classics

This is the second in a series of blog posts by Emma focussed on Advanced Pre-Teen Readers (APTRs). Find the first one here.

Classics can be a great way to give young readers a challenge. They’ll often already have the general idea of the story, and so will you! It can be really interesting to read the original before or after watching a contemporary film adaptation. They’re classics for a reason – the themes or characters have stood the test of time and proved themselves relevant even if the language used to tell the original story seems old-fashioned. It’s often the old-fashioned language that makes these books an interesting challenge for kids who have read a lot. However, don’t push them to read anything they’re not enjoying. Reading should be enjoyable. They’ll try harder things when they’re ready.

Some classics are staples in high school English, so be prepared for future conversations around re-reading and discovering more the second time around. It’s normal for kids to think “I’ve already read that, so this will be boring”. Cognitive abilities change so much in the teen years, so there’s no doubt there will be differences in how they perceive the story.

I recommend reading older classics as eBooks on a tablet or other device, because it’s easy to select a word or phrase you don’t understand and find the definition or translation without losing your place. Some classics assume the reader has at least a basic knowledge of languages like French or even Latin, so it’s nice to be able to tap for a translation. Alternatively, if you have your own copy, don’t be afraid to encourage writing in the margins (but please refrain from doing this in library books!)

Of course, what is considered a classic will differ between groups and individuals. It’s a great idea to talk about these books with your kids and question the often racist and sexist perspectives that were taken for granted at the time they were written. Some have gaping plot holes that kids may or may not notice, but which make them hard for us to read as adults (I'm looking at you, The Parent Trap!).

The following books are suitable for pre-teen readers.

Come back for more

This series of blogs covers a selection of books from the children’s, YA, and even adult collections that are suitable for advanced young readers.

Look out for other APTR blog posts on:

If your APTR has read something great, let us know so that we can let other parents know! Email us or leave a note with staff at any of our libraries, letting them know to pass it on to Li and Emma. 

 

3 November 2021

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