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Quick Look: Why So Many School Settings

Books, Reading, Story

Published on: February 15, 2024

Written by: Gina Hagler


Have you ever wondered why so much of children’s literature takes place in a school setting? As a children’s writer, I know I have. As I wrote for kids and worked with them on their reading comprehension, writing skills, and vocabulary, I could see that they enjoyed books set in schools a lot more than books with other settings. After a while, it occured to me that “getting into” a story set in school was relatively easy for them. And that ease made paying attention to the characters and action trouble-free, reading more fun, and picking a book set in school a safer choice.

Think About It

If you set a story in a mythical kingdom, and a beast you’ve invented in this world you’ve invented are the first things a kid encounters, most will feel lost until they are able to understand. By the time they do, they may have decided the book is not worth the effort. Especially for kids who are used to seeing things in movies, video games, and other visual media, taking the time to imagine the world of the story first is a lot of work—and not a lot of fun.

If you set the story in a school, whether it’s in Maryland or Nebraska, kids can quickly picture a classroom with a teacher, students, rows of desks, posters on the wall, and bells ringing between periods. In other words, they will get into the story world without doing much work. Because a school setting is familiar, kids can focus on the characters and what they’re doing from the start.

So …

One of the things you can do to help your child “get into” a story is to take a few minutes to read the first chapter together. Help your child picture the scene. Walk them through what’s going on. Help them to understand that the first pages of a story are there to introduce you to what is normal for the character. Once your child feels comfortable with the setting, they’ll be eager to keep reading.

See more about raising an avid reader.

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