Reading for Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is an important skill for children to develop as they grow. Good critical thinking skills can be attained in a variety of ways. Reading mystery books is one way; books supply a landscape in which children can develop critical thinking skills simply by enjoying the story and then discussing and analyzing it with others.

Types of Books that Produce Critical Thinkers



Books that are best for creating critical thinkers are, surprisingly, fictional stories. Because fiction is more of an art form, it leads children down paths that they are left to invent a large part of themselves. To truly get the total feel and setting for a book of fiction, readers must consider the inferences and symbolism within the story, which involves a much deeper level of thinking than nonfiction. The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West is a fictional mystery set of 33 books for young readers. Each book guides the reader through an elaborate maze of fun characters and clues, prompting them to solve the mystery before the end of the book. They are involved in the detective process from beginning to end of each book, from uncovering the mystery to collecting the clues and coming to a solution at the end. This process of engaging readers adds to the value of these books when it comes to reading for critical thinking.

How Can Parents Add to Critical Thinking Skills

Parents can start off by choosing appropriate books for their children to read. The Happy Hollisters series is a great starting point for children who enjoy reading a great story and for parents who want to strengthen their child’s critical thinking skills. Family reading time, even if it is quiet time, is still quality time spent together. At the end of their reading sessions, parents get a feel for what their children understand from the book and guide them to think a bit more about what they have read, for example, talking about the clues that the children have found so far, what they could mean individually, and what they could all mean when pieced together. This helps a child to realize that multiple levels of thinking are possible. Taking the clues and learning to combine the reasons as to how they could be important is learning critical thinking through reading.

Reading for critical thinking is beneficial for children. The Happy Hollisters book series is a fun educational tool that the whole family can enjoy together and develop their critical thinking skills at the same time. Integrating time to read for critical thinking is important for all children, and all participating family members will benefit from it.