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Never read a book!

(27 Posts)
OllyBJolly Wed 27-May-15 22:50:09

My 8yo niece tells me she has never read a book apart from her reading books at school. This makes me really sad - I was an avid reader as a child and both my (adult) DDs are still voracious readers. I did buy her some picture books when she was younger but she can't remember them.. Last time she stayed with us she was totally engrossed in DD2's collection of Horrible Histories comics.

Anyway, I have her for the whole weekend soon. What books would be good we could read together? I'm thinking David Walliam's Awful Auntie (because she calls me Auntie - not auntie Olly, just Auntie) - is it feasible we could make a good enough start on that to hook her in? Any other suggestions?

DeeWe Thu 28-May-15 16:23:48

You want to find out what sort of thing interests her.

I speak as a mum of 3 voracious readers, (14yo, 11yo, 7yo) but they pretty much read totally different things. The only books they've all loved are the Arthur Ransome books, but even then they've all preferred different ones.

Dd1 likes hard mysteries, spy stories, adventures, fairly modern books but needing to be enough close enough to realistic not to have to suspend too much belief. (Coot Club/Big Six by Aurthur Ransome)

Dd2 likes gentle stories, more "real life" or magical stories. She won't touch anything she deems to be scary. She very much likes 50s/60s Girls Own Type, where the worst you're going to have is a mountain rescue. (Swallows and Amazons, Swallowdale, by AR)

Ds likes factual most, but WWII stories, or other historical stories, but also some mystery/adventure, but old fashioned ones. He loved Peter Duck by AR.

If I find a book with a marker in it then I can tell immediately by the content whose it is likely to be. A book one has been bored with, another may well love. Enid Blyton is probably the only exception-they've all loved Famous Five and the Adventure Series.
They also read in a different way. Dd1 may have 3 or 4 books on the go. But when she's read them she rarely goes back (except Watership Down which is her comfort read) and will exhaust the series and then move onto a different series.
Dd2 reads books again. She can finish and just restart at the beginning-up to 4 times is her record. If you take one book away she'll just pick up the next and continue.
Ds likes reading with me. He likes me to read some, and he continues. He also play acts them out and goes back and rereads his favourite bits over and over again.

I would go for one that you think is slightly below their reading age. Simply because they have to really love it to struggle through one that's a bit hard.
I'd also suggest you go to the library (or a second hand shop may have some) and get a couple of Horrible History books and put them by her bed. Bedtime at 8:00, you can read until 8:30 goes down well in our house. Of course if she's engrosed you may choose to let her read beyond that. wink
And then choose a book (like the Awful Auntie) that you can read together. Again leave it by the bed, so she can read on. I don't actually know that book, so I can't comment, I think dd2 has read some of his, but dd1 thought they were totally boring.

Ones mine have loved at age 8yo:
Roman Mysteries, Alex Rider, Chalet School, Dolphin Summer, Ballet Shoes, Cue for Treason, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Little House books, My story series, Lone Pine Series, War Horse, Butterfly Lion.

OllyBJolly Fri 29-May-15 08:14:36

Thanks Deewe

The Horrible Histories is a great idea. She seems to enjoy history at school. She did Vikings last year and is doing castles this year. I might try Enid Blyton - DD2 loved all of that although DD1 not so much.

I'll have a wander around Waterstones on Sunday.

Ohwhatfuckeryisthis Fri 29-May-15 08:17:13

On the back of this I heard the saddest thing yesterday, dad and dd about 5. Dd heads into waterstones. Dad-"why do you want to go in there, it's a bookshop?"

Imperial Fri 29-May-15 08:33:54

The Ramona series/Tom Gates/Enid Blyton Naughtiest Girl Series - might all be slightly young but that's probably better than a read that's too tricky and puts her off.

Araisaris Fri 29-May-15 08:36:58

That is sad ohwhat

Starlightbright1 Fri 29-May-15 08:42:24

I have a 8 year old DS.

It is an avid reader but things that put him off a book are been to thick and tiny words.

I also find he still really enjoys reading a chapter each.It helps with them learning expression

BritainsNextTopStudentWarden Fri 29-May-15 09:43:35

If she likes the Horrible Histories comics, a book from the same series would be a good bet for one of her read-alone options. If she was truly "engrossed" in the comics, you probably don't have too much to worry about. Does she get as much encouragement to read at home as your DC do? (Not meant as a judgement.)

For other options, my mother stuck with my interests for read-alone (Animal Ark, Ballet Shoes, The Worst Witch, etc) and would choose something of slightly higher reading age, often fantasy, to read to/with me. Perhaps your DN would enjoy the content of unfamiliar genres more if she's allowed to poke fun at the characters and situations - this encourages critical writing skills for later, and it's possible that she's daunted by books (as opposed to comics, TV, etc) because school has somehow taken the fun out of reading for pupils who do not currently read for pleasure.

Enjoying HH might indicate that she'd devour something non-fiction, e.g. I collected Beanie Baby magazines; my brother had Pokémon game guides, and the closest he came to fiction through choice most of the time was the dialogue in the actual games. He's off to uni for a science subject, so no harm done!

ladygracie Fri 29-May-15 09:46:33

I agree with the Ramona books & ive just read the first Sesame seade mystery book to my 7&8 year old class - they absolutely loved it.

mrssmiling Fri 29-May-15 10:40:24

DD adored Horrible Histories books - still does! She loves fact books, but at 8 was hooked by David Walliams books, the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' series, Roald Dahl ('Matilda' and 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' in particular) and the Mr Gum books by Andy Stanton.

OllyBJolly Fri 29-May-15 11:49:40

Her parents don't read and she has a tablet she plays games on. I think there are too many distractions for kids now for them to focus time on reading. Also, when the TV is constantly on in every room it's not very conducive.

I'm hoping that if I find that first book she absolutely loves, it will start her reading books for pleasure. I do think reading is a habit - if you get the habit you make time and space for it.

Just remembered how much my kids loved Roald Dahl - good shout MrsSmiling!

Never heard of Ramona - I'll look out for that.

Thanks everyone.

balletnotlacrosse Fri 29-May-15 13:27:59

I have a 7 yr old niece who just does not want to read. She has been given lots of encouragement, has a house full of lovely books because her two older siblings are avid reader, has always had stories read aloud to her, is only allowed limited time in front of telly, on the ipad etc.

But she just has no interest at the moment. My mum said my sister was the same. My brother and I loved reading but DS just had very little interest.

BlueChampagne Fri 29-May-15 15:49:11

Goth Girl might be tempting, especially the beautifully produced hardback.

On a different tack, you could get her a magazine subscription for her birthday (Aquila for example).

If she lives locally, how about taking her to the library and signing her up, if she isn't already.

OllyBJolly Fri 29-May-15 16:15:04

BlueChampagne when I saw your recommendation my first reaction was "She's only 8!" but just looked at the book on Amazon and it looks right up her street. One of the games we play is that we are princesses in a castle so I think she'll love this. Thank you!

Leeds2 Fri 29-May-15 16:26:03

If she likes history, she might like the My Story series (by various authors). They are fictional accounts telling how things were at a particular time from an individual's point of view e.g. a soldier in the trenches, Anne Boleyn's maid etc.

schmalex Fri 29-May-15 17:26:20

If she likes Vikings she might like the How to Train Your Dragon series.

iwantavuvezela Fri 29-May-15 17:29:24

The Ottoline books are wonderful. Three in the series, beautiful drawings, not too much text. Same author as goth girl (Chris riddle) and my DD (a reluctant reader) loved them.

pissedglitter Fri 29-May-15 17:34:31

If she has a tablet can she get a reading app? Kindle app is great it's what I use on my iPad
I'm sure there is plenty of free books you could download for her

Jenijena Fri 29-May-15 17:38:16

If she did have a kindle app, is it possible you could set it up in her name, and add books to it occasionally? You could even have s mini 'book club' if you think she might enjoy it.

Harry Potter...

Imperial Fri 29-May-15 20:26:41

Horrid Henry might also appeal

BlueChampagne Mon 01-Jun-15 13:13:23

Do keep us all posted, Auntie!

meglet Mon 01-Jun-15 13:17:55

Tom Gates books. The main character is a boy but I know girls who enjoy them. It's quite 'comic like', makes me laugh when ds reads it to me grin.

OllyBJolly Sun 28-Jun-15 22:10:26

So - update!

We had 8yo niece (and her 2 yo brother) all last weekend. I gave her Goth Girl, and we read the first few chapters. She loved it. It's a glorious book - beautifully illustrated and the little secret letter was fantastic. Her favourite colour is purple so the purple pages helped.

Saw her yesterday and she tells me - all wide eyes! - there are vampires and she has read up to Chapter 12. That is really quite amazing for a child who doesn't read for pleasure. Thank you so much for all your suggestions.

I have Awful Auntie here which I'll give her once she finishes Goth Girl. Didn't want to overload her all at once.

DeeWe Mon 29-Jun-15 10:25:45

That's lovely. Thanks for the update.

ppolly Tue 30-Jun-15 22:12:59

I love Goth Girl, it is such a fun crazy read. There is also 'fortunately the milk' by Neil Gaimon and illustrated by Chris Riddel.

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