Why Kids Should Read Scary Stories!

 In Support for Struggling Readers

We all have different tolerances for fear. Some people go out of their way to confront scary situations; others do their best to avoid them. But all of us can experience “manageable fear” through fiction – and that’s not such a bad thing.

Aside from the obvious – that scary stories can be exciting nail-biters that keep readers engaged from beginning to end – there is evidence that reading scary fiction can actually be good for our emotional health.

When we’re scared, our brain produces chemicals such as cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine. Dopamine is commonly known to increase when one is happy, activating a sense of pleasure. The same chemical reaction occurs naturally when we’re scared. It’s like riding a rollercoaster – scary but exhilarating. Many of us seek out thrilling scenarios like these because we love the way dopamine makes us feel. Scary stories allow us to safely experience and enjoy the sensation without actually being in any real danger.

And that’s the key:  scary stories are a safe place for readers to deal with fear. Readers can control how scared they want to be. They often come away from the reading with new tools for managing or controlling their own reactions to being afraid. Best of all, if things get too creepy, they can just close the book and return to the safety of a real world without goblins, ghouls and ghosts.

Give your students some frightful reading opportunities with HIP’s SCARY STORIES PACK – 6 books on a range of supernatural themes, from a terrifying overnight stay in a GHOST HOUSE to an encounter with a legendary creature from Indigenous folklore in YOU CAN’T MAKE ME.

For more reading on this topic:

Tales Dark and Grim: Why Kids Love and Need Scary Stories

Embrace the Fear: How Kids Benefit from Scary Stories


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