Transitioning from YA to adult books is a common theme on my blog, and today I wanted to address another way of doing this: series with increasingly difficult reading levels.
Not only do the characters in these series grow in age, but the situations they face become increasingly complicated, and the level of difficulty for the reader also increases. This is much more complicated than authors who write continuing series, books both for YA and adults or books with cross-market appeal. They have to sustain characters through years of growth and development as well as keep readers engaged.
The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
The Dark Is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
The Austin Family Chronicles by Madeleine L'Engle
The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
Ender Books by Orson Scott Card
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
Jessica Darling by Megan McCafferty
Bloody Jack Adventures by L.A. Meyer
Most of these books also work well as read-alouds because they are accessible to both children and adults, and they explore issues that promote discussion and help develop connections. Don't stop reading to your child just because they can finally read on their own! Even if you don't read aloud, your child will still benefit from both of you independently reading a series at the same time, although it takes some planning to make sure there are two copies of a book in the house.
When introducing your children to a series, it's a good idea to not only be aware of their current reading level and emotional maturity but also the pace at which your child reads to prepare for when they'll approach later books in the series that might address more mature issues.