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...oh wait, maybe I'm not.

Disclaimer: I’m no expert on speed reading. I’ve just been accused of it. As a child, my parents and friends started to notice that I’d finish books faster than everyone else around me. I grew increasingly aware of my super power when Harry Potter books took hours to complete instead of days, and when a book series took less time to absorb than a TV season binge. Then I learned about something called “speed reading.” I found out that rather than reading every word, many “speed readers” simply skim the page, their eyes skipping around to take in only key information.

That’s when I went meta.

Meaning I started to pay attention to the way I was reading. I was surprised to find that I didn’t actually read every word. I’d find myself only actually reading every few words, sometimes skipping by whole phrases and letting my brain fill in the gaps. I was reading more by page than by sentence—I was pretty impressed with myself.

My brain had developed the ability to read junior and YA fiction quickly because the words and themes were familiar and a step below my actual reading level. Not only that, but my purpose for reading these books was purely to take in a fun story: it was easy entertainment and easy to absorb. Not too long after that, however, I entered college and things slowed down drastically. I found myself painstakingly reading my college level texts word by word, trying to glean deeper meanings, enjoying the overall artistry of each phrase.

In the children’s section of the library, it’s common for parents to complain about children who are consuming books at incredible speeds. While I’m excited that they’re reading so much, I worry that it may be causing them to become stagnant in their reading progression as they read only what is familiar and easy. It’s tricky to find higher level novels with content that children enjoy, but I recommend helping them break into some more difficult content every once in awhile: Don’t be afraid to push them.

If you have no idea where to start, here are some well known “classics” that are often overlooked by our younger patrons but can be found in the children’s department:

WHITE FANG
by Jack London
(1906)

THE STORY OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE
by Hugh Lofting
(1997)

TREASURE ISLAND
by Robert Louis Stevenson
(1911)

THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
by Mark Twain
(1948)

LITTLE WOMEN
by Louisa May Alcott
(1989)

BLACK BEAUTY
by Anna Sewell
(1996)

THE JUNGLE BOOK
by Rudyard Kipling
(2012)

THE SECRET GARDEN
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
(1911)

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
by L. M. Montgomery
(1998)

SHERLOCK HOLMES
by Arthur Conan Doyle
(1996)

THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE
by C. S. Lewis
(1986)      

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