Many readers enjoy reading about magical powers and imaginary worlds, but the nature of the fantasy genre sometimes makes for challenging reading. HIP FANTASY novels provide plenty of excitement and enchantment, but at an accessible reading level. Two sets of three books function as trilogies or stand-alone novels: the Skinwalkers inhabit a world of magic and shape-shifting; and the Dragon Speakers fight an evil lord to save the Earth’s last dragons.
INTEREST LEVELS Ages 10-16 (Grades 5-10)
READING LEVELS: Grade 2.8-3.4 LEXILE LEVELS: 450-500
“These slim books pack a lot of action and plot into 110 pages. The short chapters and quick plots will make it easy for reluctant readers to get into the stories…I forgot I was reading a hi-lo book!” (Lawral the Librarian, October 2009).
TRY THIS PRE-READING ROUTINE WITH ANY FANTASY NOVEL:
Understanding the genre guides readers in how to approach the text and helps them comprehend the story. Before reading a fantasy novel, have students brainstorm the elements they might expect to encounter in this genre, such as:
- magic – sorcery, witchcraft, spells
- villains, usually with power, such as rulers or kings
- heroes, often unlikely
- a quest
- good vs. evil
- mythical creatures such as dragons or unicorns
- a well-developed setting that involves another world
- danger and adventure
Not every novel will have every one of these features. During reading, have students revisit the list to see which elements they meet.