How do series books motivate young readers (or not motivate them) to read all the books in the series?I'm trying to relate this question back to Hunger Games and Skulduggery Pleasant.

19 Answers

wannam's profile pic

wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

I think, in general, books in a series do motivate young readers to read more.  It is easier to read when you are interested in the characters.  A good series will drive you to finish reading because you want to know what happens to your favorite characters.  Readers can look forward to the next book.  Once they finish the first book, there is still more to read.  With a single book, the reader is sent looking for another book after they finish reading.  Often, this leads to a lull in the person's reading habits because they don't have a drive to continue reading a particular book.  Series can deter young readers in one sense, because they can seem intimidating.  Longer series with larger books (like Harry Potter for instance) might seem overwhelming to a young reader.  A person might avoid reading the first book because they don't want to have to read all the books in the series.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I have seen series books turn non-readers into readers. For example, the Series of Unfortunate Event series has 13 relatively short books. If a child reads a book that is not in a series, he typically reads the book and then that's it. If there are 12 more, he is likely going to read 12 more books! In some ways, Harry Potter is the best series because the first book is short and easy, but the six following books get harder and longer. It teaches kids NOT to be afraid of long books!
rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

A lot of it has to do with creating compelling characters that make you want to read the next in a series just to see what happens to them. Also, some series books have plotlines that very obviously leave the reader wondering about the next book in the series. Recently, the trend has been young adult fiction, but many dime novels of years gone by took exactly the same tack. Sherlock Holmes, though not a serial per se, is one example.

lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

Some young readers and adults alike will come into a series or an author and then devour that author's books because they recognize something in the style of the writing or the themes of the works that appeals to them. If the young person is a reluctant reader and he or she can find one book that really clicks, then the next few books seem like "friendly territory" and the young person may be more easily inspired to read.

literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I have to agree that interest plays a large role in reading an entire series. I cannot tell you how many times I read the first book of a series and could not wait for the next novel to come out. Outside of that, wannam provides a good point about the number of books in a series. Sometimes the sheer number of novels is overwhelming for a reader (they simple do not wish to devote so much time to a series).

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Generally, if the initial book in a series is a good one, readers will always want to continue reading. The recent Hunger Games series and the previous Harry Potter books are excellent examples of great books spawning successful sequels. During my youth, I found the same held true for The Wizard of Oz and its many followups.

e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

A series of books that interests a reader can bring home the point that finding one good book is not a fluke. There is more good material out there. 

Personally, I have been invigorated by some fantasy series books in the past (like The Lord of the Rings trilogy) in part because there is a sense of being involved in a real saga. 


User Comments

chrisyhsun's profile pic

chrisyhsun | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

Series can encourage reading because each novel builds up anticipation for the next. Some people are really interested in the series and their curiosity for what plot twists the author has stirred up in the next book pus them to continue reading. Other people, even if they are only semi-interested in the book, might finish the series because their friends are always talking about the book and they don't want to get left in the dark. Still others, who again may not be completely reading the series out of personal enjoyment, might just want to finish. In my personal experience, if there is just one book left in the series, I will most likely finish it even if it's beginning to get tedious. There is some satisfaction to being able to say "I finished those books".

On the other hand, some series can in fact turn away readers as they continue. This might be the case when the author takes a long time between books. Readers who ended the previous novel excited for the upcoming developments might find their interest waning with time and end up not reading the rest because they have forgotten parts of the first and are too lazy to go back to it. Another characteristic that might dissuade continuous reading is if the series is too long. Individuals may have more and more difficulty finding the books themselves and may thus choose to stop. Another scenario could be that they find the books getting repetitive, which could especially be the case for episodic series rather than series with an overarching story and conclusion.

francy17's profile pic

francy17 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

For me a motivating factor in reading a series is weither or not the books are interesting. If the first book has a good ending then I would want to read the next book. When books end with, to be continued... that just pushes me to finish the series.

hnixon's profile pic

hnixon | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

i think mainly because after a lot of people start a book that is part of a bigger series and its good they just want to find out whats going to happen next.

drahmad1989's profile pic

drahmad1989 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

Lack of time

and lack of interest in topic cause this thing.

Otherwise readers like to read books on serious topics too.

buisp's profile pic

buisp | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Many of my students get hooked on a book; interest being the key word whether the book is one of a series or not.  I have some who like to know whether books are one of a series so that the storyline will keep going. 

mr5252's profile pic

mr5252 | Student | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

As mentioned before, interest is the answer to your question. If  the person becomes interested in the first book then most likely the second book will be like a continuation of the first book therefore sharing the same interest as the first and so persuading the reader to continue on series after series.

However it is noted from experience that when some authors decide to make a second book or even a saga it usually ends up "lame" and not as interesting as the first original book. This may happen from time to time but most times at least for me, the others are generally as interesting as the first.


mjay25's profile pic

mjay25 | Student, Graduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

I think the element of 'suspense' is often used to encourage reading the rest of the series.

There's also the fact if it is a 'popular' series, like Goosebumps were in my day, and like the Twilight series and Harry Potter are now. If it's popular among other similar-aged readers - this usually also has some influence.

tigger437's profile pic

tigger437 | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Hunger Games succeeds in hooking readers by providing books with individual stories that can stand on their own, while giving a sense that each book is part of an overarching story that will be resolved when the series ends.

It also provides characters with internal conflicts that grow and change with the story.  The conclusion of the plot line also brings obvious growth and change in the main character, Katniss.  At the same time, the author weaves in background details about the history of the current political structure and the nature of the games that supports and explains their power to move the populace.

Each book is organized around a central event with its own story line that is resolved by the book's end.  (Books 1 & 2, the Games, book 3, the rebellion ) this leaves the reader satisfied that the story promised at the outset of the book has been thoroughly told.  However, the effects of the games on the populace and the reaction of the government to them generates unresolved issues that leaves the reader wanting to find out how things will turn out.  In addition, Katniss's relationships with Gale and Peeta are left unresolved as well.

msnewbooklover's profile pic

msnewbooklover | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) Honors

Posted on

series of books motivate New readers especially.When v  read first book of sreies curiosity is produced among readers and they wait for next book.Between the gap v keep thinking what will happen next.This develop our i am giving u my eg twilight series is now ended but i always thinking that what would happpen if bella choose jacob or what if reneseme was dead...??????

also it develops our skills.

scucsb22's profile pic

scucsb22 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

The key to this question is “interest,” if you are given something to read that interests you than you will enjoy reading it. A series of books can benefit students if they are interested for many reasons. A series of books will typically share genres, settings and characters. Sometimes storylines will carry over from one book to the next. However, timelines are not always chronological according to when the books are published. Many times a reader will enjoy many of the books in the series if interested in one of them. Many teachers will agree that finding a book series will encourage an interest in reading. Once that interest is discovered in a certain genre, another similar book series or author can usually be found.    

     As for the latter question; students generally like to have a choice so forcing a series on a young reader may not motivate them. Also young readers have different likes and dislikes meaning one series of books may work for one reader and not another. Lastly young reader’s ability like all readers varies and book choice needs to be appropriate and based on reading level on grade level.