Monsters may be best known for destroying cities, terrorizing villages, and devouring countryside, but they can also be a great tool for getting your kids excited about reading. Think back to when you were a child: how many Saturday nights did you spend under the covers watching Creature Features on local TV?

So why do kids love monsters so much? I think it’s because they offer something for everyone–especially young readers and struggling readers. Monster stories provide a unique experience that makes reading especially exciting: engaging and lively visuals, bizarre new sounds, and a whole array of sensations (fear, laughter, pity, curiosity) make these books monstrously fun. Perhaps that’s why I found 4,915 children’s books related to monsters on Amazon.com. Of course, that pales in comparison to the 88,193 books related to animals. (Then again, those animals actually exist.)

So get your kids excited about reading by making monsters a classroom staple. Here are a few ways to do it:

1. Use monster books for story time. Not only will this engage your listeners, but it will give you a chance to liven things up a bit, too!

  • Be sure to read with emotion, maybe even letting out an occasional scream
  • Don’t be afraid to dress up in a costume
  • Try using your storytime space to act out the story

2. Add monster books to your library. You can bet those books won’t be sitting on the shelf gathering cobwebs.

3. Invite monsters into your classroom in other ways:

  • Have students write and illustrate stories featuring their favorite monster (or those of their own creation)
  • Invite English learners to share about the monsters of their native country (the Chiapas of Mexico, for example)
  • Have students create amazing monster masks for art projects
  • Put on a class play with a monster theme

No matter how monsters sneak into your classroom, there’s one thing you can count on–your students’ attention.