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To be worried about the number of 6 year olds reading Harry Potter?

(230 Posts)
mydogeatsnutstoo Tue 01-Dec-15 12:08:20

My dd is 6, nearly 7. I think she is quite a bright child, she is creative and outgoing and quite athletic. Her school reports always suggest she is doing well.

However, I have been worried that she has not taken to reading as I thought she would - I was one of these precocious and avid readers as a child and she is just not! ( and not for want of opportunity, loads of books in house, taken to library a lit etc). She is on level 2b reading book which I think is about right for year 2 but definitely not Harry Potter level! Getting her to read in itself can be a trial, although she has spurts of interest and improvement though would not sit down and read a book herself very often.

I am trying not to push her but will be v disappointed if she doesn't like reading! Please tell me that there are other bright 6 year olds at this stage not reading The Hobbit (as my friend's daughter apparently has!) and that they can suddenly just 'get it' a bit later!

IoraRua Tue 01-Dec-15 12:11:25

Ime as a teacher, most 6 year olds are certainly not reading Harry Potter. I would not be convinced the two (I think) children of about that age I taught who were reading it at home really comprehended it anyway. You have nothing to worry about!

DrDreReturns Tue 01-Dec-15 12:12:22

I doubt most six year olds could read a book like Harry Potter. My two kids certainly couldn't when they were six. It was more like eight for my eldest. They are both considered very good readers by their teachers. Don't worry.

Holstein Tue 01-Dec-15 12:14:01

Really, they all develop at different rates. 2b is fine for her age, just keep encouraging her.
Also, HP really ISNT suitable for six year olds! Everything after Azkhaban is much darker and scarier. My DS (6) really struggled with Chamber of secrets, as it was so scary (I was reading to him!).

Can dogs really eat nuts?

MyLifeisaboxofwormgears Tue 01-Dec-15 12:13:52

My brother used to go on and on about how his two kids "were reading Harry Potter at the age of 7". Some years later one of the two said she'd read a bit of one and given up and she was about 10 and the other said she didn't even start till she was 12.
"reading Harry Potter at age 7" is parents showing off.
Even my DD who was a precocious reader didn't read HP till she was 9 - then gave up as she said it was rubbish.
And there are way better books than HP anyway.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 01-Dec-15 12:14:47

I was very much hands off beyond doing reading homework with DD, she suddenly got the reading bug in year 3 and by the end of year 6 she was one of only two children in her year group reading pleasure.
Encouraging them to read for pleasure is about letting them read what they like. We had plenty of horrid Henry, rainbow fairies, dork diaries and diary of a wimpy kid.
Now she is in year 7 she still reads for pleasure and has a good reading age ( well in excess of her actual age) she reads a mix of 'quality' books and trashy stuff, but is a prolific reader.
Just don't listen to the 'oh Johny read war and peace' group and let her enjoy reading what she likes.

sarararararah Tue 01-Dec-15 12:17:08

My DD is 7 and in Year 3. In her Y2 SATs last year she got a Level 3 and I would say she is an able reader (teacher here too). She hasn't read either Harry Potter or The Hobbit as, despite her comprehension being good, I don't think these books are appropriate for her yet and I think her comprehension of them would be at too basic a level to truly understand all the nuances, sub-plots etc. It's not a race. There's plenty of time to enjoy and read these books properly when she's older. For what it's worth, the most able reader I ever taught in Y2 was most put out when the other children caught her up. The best thing you can do to promote a love of reading is to read to her. Reading can still be a bit laborious at this stage and hearing texts come alive when read by a competent adult is one of the most powerful motivators ime. I echo the previous poster - you have nothing to worry about!

Patapouf Tue 01-Dec-15 12:24:29

Not all children can read well when they are that little and (anecdotally) it has little bearing on how academic they go on to be so I wouldn't worry.

I used to tutor a little girl in year 7 who had a reading level that I had attained by age 5, she went on to do very well in her GCSEs! Not everybody enjoys reading and making it a chore/putting pressure on won't make it any more enjoyable.
If you find a good series of books it might be good to start the first one as an audio book, read the second together and by the third she'll be so eager to hear the rest of the story she'll push herself a bit more.

Holstein Tue 01-Dec-15 12:24:46

Take her to the library to choose her own books too. I was a precocious, avid reader, and it does upset me sometimes that my DD is not that bothered about it. When I look at what she does spend her time doing though (music, drawing, maths puzzles etc) I just appreciate that she's not me, she has different strengths, and different interests, which of course she should!

LittleMissGreen Tue 01-Dec-15 12:25:36

Kids need to read what they are interested in, when they are interested in it.
DS2 is on the G&T list for literacy - he has only just read Harry Potter aged 9, I'm not convinced he actually finished it. DS3 (7) not G&T for literacy by any means, absolutely loved Harry Potter when he read it a couple of months ago and I couldn't drag him away from it.
Neither of them have attempted the Hobbit - probably as I remember being bored stiff by it at their age.
They are currently reading the Little House on the Prairie series which I thought would bore them, but they absolutely love them.

edwinbear Tue 01-Dec-15 12:25:34

My ds is 6 and in Y2. He is still on ORT stage 4 as he has had glue ear which only cleared in October. He is making good progress now he can hear and starting to catch up with his peers, so I'm not overly concerned. By the time he is in senior school I'm sure he will be able to read just fine.

Crabbitface Tue 01-Dec-15 12:27:03

YABU to be worried about the amount of 6 year old's reading HP - partly because there may not be as many as you think and partly because children develop at their own pace and will read whatever interests them. My 5 yo is a reader will read some books alone - but if I think a book he wants to read has themes he may not be ready for I put them aside for a bit or I read them to him as his bedtime cuddle/read so that we can talk about anything he is confused/upset/particularly interested in. We read HP together and he enjoyed it. He would sit and look at books alone at 2. Whereas - my 2 year old has very little interest in books. She barely tolerates a bedtime story but will sit for hours drawing circles with crayons. I'm a big reader but they are their own wee people.

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 01-Dec-15 12:28:53

I was about 8 when the first Harry Potter book was published, if I recall correctly it was aimed at roughly 8-11 year olds, with the target group getting slightly older with each book.

I had a reading age of 14 at 7. At 8 I could read and understand it. At 6 I'd have been able to read it. Understand the themes? Most likely not.

mydogeatsnutstoo Tue 01-Dec-15 12:28:58

Hi, was not particularly meaning Harry Potter specifically - just giving it as an example of a quite demanding chapter book. Agree the later ones may not be suitable anyway.
Thanks for replies, it is just a bit frustrating but I have had to recognise that pushing is not going to work and probably just make her hate reading ( but then I worry I am being too relaxed and she will fall behind so can't win really ...,)

Mydogeatsnutstoo - was a random quote from a Chekhov play we did at school (god that sounds pretentious, I find user names quite hard, usually the v unoriginal ones I come up with have been used!)

Bounced Tue 01-Dec-15 12:30:03

I have a precocious reader. So I'm envying you your sporty, creative child and worrying about those things and whether she has any friends.

I think they do what they do. They're individuals and grow in their own directions. I think the best we can do is shape they way they grow by providing guidance and encouragement and opportunities. But trying to force it is counter-productive.

NoSquirrels Tue 01-Dec-15 12:33:19

I have a DC the same age OP and agree it's Rainbow Fairies/Horrid Henry/Dennis the Menace/Magic Kitten-Puppy-Horse/Wimpy Kid for pleasure and reading alone at this age.

DC might be "into" Harry Potter if read to them, but would struggle to enjoy it alone. Lots of DC start with HP too young because of the films, but don't really read them themselves, I reckon. I am also resisting it - plenty of books, plenty of time to enjoy them when age-appropriate. My DH is so keen to get them into The Hobbit, or the Neverending Story, any books he enjoyed when he was "the same age" and he just WILL NOT believe me that he's not remembering what he read at 6-going-on-7, but more than likely a couple of years older. The language and themes are more nuanced than your average DC will understand properly at that age.

A love of reading can be fostered or killed, and the best way to foster it is to allow free choice, even if you think it's young for them. You consolidate reading habits by feeling confident about what you are reading.

sleepyhead Tue 01-Dec-15 12:34:36

I agree with what previous posters have said. For what it's worth, I was one of those 6yr olds who had read the Hobbit, but I read it again when I was about 12 and got far, far more out of it - I used to just skim through bits I didn't understand and there are lots of words that I mispronounced up until adulthood because I'd first come across them in books when I was far too young!

Don't underestimate the power of bedtime stories for encouraging reading for enjoyment btw. It's great for all sorts of reasons, but also for letting them access stories that they would enjoy but might find a struggle to read themselves. Not saying read HP to a 6 year old mind you - plenty of time for that. There is so much fabulous children's fiction & non-fiction out there!

MrsFrisbyMouse Tue 01-Dec-15 12:35:24

Nothing wrong with any 6 year old reading Harry Potter if they are able.

But you don't need to worry about your daughter. My very prolific reader of a daughter (currently Year 6) didn't start to read independently until the end of Year 2.

Until then we read to her, every night. Including the first 3 Harry Potter books, until she wanted to read them herself after. In fact we read a lot of the more 'advanced' books to her first, so we could talk about any tricky vocabulary or concepts and check she understood them. Audio books/ Radio dramatisations are also great for helping improve general literacy and understanding.

A lot of 6 year olds read advanced books, but don't really understand what they are reading (yet) The ability to understand literature goes way beyond just being able to read the words.

mydogeatsnutstoo Tue 01-Dec-15 12:35:35

Iittlemissgreen - have ordered little house in the prairie for Xmas as I remember enjoying that and think she will like idea of going off on a wagon!

I have found it difficult to find good books for her age - she loves the worst witch series but we have read them all now and have the CDs in the car. She loves horrid Henry - I am less keen but we do get a lot of them from the library ! There seems to be a plethora of really quite badly written books with sparkly covers which she always wants to get (because of the covers!) but end up being really sickly sweet and with no character development or anything to grab the reader.

I have ordered pippi long stocking and gobbling the witches cat for Christmas - would appreciate any recommendations of other things she would like if she likes horrid Henry and the worst witch.

mydogeatsnutstoo Tue 01-Dec-15 12:36:15

Gobbolino obviously!

irvine101 Tue 01-Dec-15 12:38:47

My ds(7) is a good reader but he wouldn't touch Harry Potter books.
He likes to read funny, light hearted books, and not serious ones.
He reads murderous maths, so it's not amount or size of text, it just doesn't interest him yet. I just let him read whatever he likes.

Toffeelatteplease Tue 01-Dec-15 12:38:55

DD hates reading with a passion.

I can count on two hands the number of books she has actually finished (none quality childrens literature) and only bothers reading in the evening now because she gets a detention if she doesn't.

She is also labelled at school gifted for English and one of the most able readers in her class. hmm

DingbatsFur Tue 01-Dec-15 12:41:49

My 8 year old is a good reader and is considered one of the most advanced readers in his class (*preen*). He told his teacher he had read Harry Potter and she was impressed.
My 6 year old could not read it. He'll get there in the end.
He can make damn fine stop motion Minecraft animation though.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Tue 01-Dec-15 12:43:49

I feel for you. I was also a precocious reader and quite sad that DS1 didn't follow suit - he's more into reading now he's nearly 8, but not at Harry Potter level yet (he does like HP but he prefers the films to reading!) I've just got him interested in reading Finn Family Moomintroll, and he's been reading some of Roald Dahl's books - he particularly liked The Magic Finger, The BFG and George's Marvellous Medicine. He struggled with Paddington, even after seeing the film sad and I'm concerned that he won't be interested now in the Olga da Polga books that I bought a couple of years ago for him, whenever his interest picked up.
His library books from school this year have mostly consisted of Pokemon stories, or Scooby Doo adventures hmm but I haven't been too scathing about them, don't want to put him off entirely!

DS2 is only just 3 - I'm hoping he'll be the avid reader.

multivac Tue 01-Dec-15 12:45:15

OP - just a small word of warning: the Laura Ingalls Wilder books are fab... but the content, and language, is a touch, erm, 'of its time' at times...

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