Hi friends! Can you believe it's almost the end of July?? I hope you're having a lovely summer!
I want to take a second and chat about the importance of scary books.
You may know that I'm one of the founders of the Middle Ground Book Fest, a virtual, free literary festival that focuses on the 8-14 year old reader. We recently recorded a panel devoted to scary books, and one of the discussions was about why scary books are incredibly valuable to have in the classroom. As a middle school Language Arts teacher, I think about this topic A LOT. I've heard many English teachers say that they only want "important" books in their classrooms. This is usually code for contemporary realistic fiction. Books with buzz and a shiny sticker on the cover. And while I also love these kinds of books, it's a disservice to kids if we don't open their eyes to ALL kinds of literature - including the scary stuff.
Middle grade horror books can often times be the key to getting reluctant readers to WANT to go to the library. An important goal for all teachers is to foster a love of reading. Genre fiction can be an integral part of this. I had a Language Arts teacher in fifth grade who had a CABINET dedicated to RL Stine books. She would read Goosebumps to us for read-alouds. Even kids who claimed they "hated" to read were begging her to keep turning the page. It was magic. It brought us all together, kind of like the campfire effect.
The benefit of scary stories doesn't stop there. They are also great for model lessons on the mechanics of plot, pacing, building suspense, and crafting vivid descriptions. They can also be used to teach kids how to make inferences.
So if you're an educator or parent and feeling a bit nervous about giving scary stories to your child, give it a try! And be sure to check out the Middle Ground Book Fest panel on August 8th at 2pm EST; they'll be chatting more about this topic, and it's a great way to discover more spooky reads!