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early reader - what to read?

(39 Posts)
dsreaderwhizz Fri 10-Oct-08 20:48:59

Have namechanged so don't get accused of bragging, etc.

Although I've made a point of not teaching DS to read before starting school and not hot-housing him (I was taught to read aged 2 and hot-housed all my childhood), he's taught himself to read by just remembering the words from me reading to him - think he has a photographic memory.

As a result, DS has just started in Reception, and has already been put onto ORT stage 8 books and added to the school's G&T register. The problem is that many of the texts are too scary or unsuitable for him, especially as he's a deep-thinker and quite sensitive. Eg one non-fiction book he read, entitled "Shipwrecks", was great until half-way through when it started discussed bombed battleships (cue big discussions about war...). We've had a chat with his teacher and she's said that he will run out of books sometime before the end of the year due to the fact that he is reading so much above his age (2-3 years, I think) that many of the texts are unsuitable.

For those of you that have also had this problem, how did you resolve it? Did you go "off-piste" and do free-reading (and if so, which texts for boys?) or go down a level or two?

IlanaK Fri 10-Oct-08 20:52:31

I can't help with the school texts as my children are homeschooled. However, I do have a son who reads 3-4 years above his age. (he is now 7). He is also extremely sensitive and we have to be very careful about what books he reads.

One author we have found fabulous is Enid Blyton. I know some hate her books, but my son loves them and they are totally non-threatening. I am not sure what ability your son has in reading, but some of her books like The Wishing Chair are aimed at younger readers.

Also, the Flat Stanley books are excellent.

iheartdusty Fri 10-Oct-08 20:58:58

yes, DS has been reading for a couple of years, he has just started in reception. he used to read DD's ORTs, but we didn't encounter Shipwrecks...mostly fairly unworrying problems about bicycles and Gran driving.

Main enthusiasms for free-reading have been around animals, dinosaurs, fossils, weather, space. I can see the problem with any subject, potentially, if your DS is a deep thinker.

Is your DS past the stage of all the other series for early readers? We have had from library Sprinters, Go Bananas, First Young Puffins, and various others, which are generally lighthearted.

Advice from others on MN who have had unsuitable reading books from school is to sideline them and concentrate on home books from library etc.

cory Fri 10-Oct-08 21:00:40

Run out of books? Surely not! The world is full of books!!! If the school does not have a suitable selection, try the local library. Or second-hand book shops. Or friends' book- shelves. Just skin through everything yourself to check that it's suitable. Ask to send books in with him.

Think back to the Classics of your own childhood, not all of those would be unsuitable for a 4yo. I was fond of The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark; several more books by the same author. The Mrs Pepperpot stories are good and gentle. Pippi Longstocking is fun. Fairy tales of various kinds. Stories about gods and heroes are often good. Also, loads of books about animals (though check for gory-ness), sports, dinosaurs, mechanics, how-your-body-works, first encyclopedias. It's just a question of his teacher thinking out of her box.

popsycal Fri 10-Oct-08 21:01:47

magic tree house seriess

Bink Fri 10-Oct-08 21:04:27

Keep up with the reading programme (but you & teacher both do quick content-check). For home/other reading, go vintage.
(Hence Enid Blyton, Flat Stanley, etc.)

Fluent little 4yo old boy ... hmm: Paddington, Ponder and William (Barbara Softly, about a boy with a panda pyjama case who is Actually Really Alive - out of print but you can find secondhand on Amazon etc.), everything Alfie by Shirley Hughes.

Marina Fri 10-Oct-08 21:05:30

Have a look at the Usborne First Readers/Young Readers titles. The Greek Myth ones do sometimes refer to giants and mortal peril, but generally these are perfect and ds loved them. He was not in your ds' league in Reception but zoomed off by Yr1 and we had similar problems with suitability for a time.

Marina Fri 10-Oct-08 21:07:47

Definitely Paddington, proper Winnie the Pooh, Olga da Polga. Arabel and Mortimer (Joan Aiken, second-hand or a shortlived reissue), Esio Trot (one of Roald Dahl's less twisted tales), Quentin Blake's Mrs Armitage, possibly even Jennings if ds is loving the social side of school.

EachPeachPearMum Fri 10-Oct-08 21:07:48

Emil and the Detectives
Arthur Ransome books

EachPeachPearMum Fri 10-Oct-08 21:08:09

Oh and Narnia series

Bink Fri 10-Oct-08 21:09:06

Oh, and more vintage: my two both went through a devouring Topsy & Tim stage - lasted only a few months, but in that time it was all they wanted.

(Amazon mostly has the updated reprints, with, you know, Topsy wearing leggings, but the originals are more lovely - Stepford Wife mummy etc.)

And, yet further and completely stating-the-obvious on the vintage line, Ladybirds!!!

Marina Fri 10-Oct-08 21:09:18

Sir Gadabout is fun too

EachPeachPearMum Fri 10-Oct-08 21:11:00

ah, sorry- he's 4, not 7....
erm- Mary Plain (about a bear in the Bear Pits of Berne)
Moomins still possibly
My DB was reading Oliver Twist at 4, but it's probably not all that suitable! grin

Marina Fri 10-Oct-08 21:11:17

Bink, dd is obsessed with Peter and Jane at the moment (she has got her hands on my copies)
If your ds still likes Thomas, you could steel yourself and get hold of the actual books (rather than the modernised stuff). Yes the little trains are still quarrelsome horrors, but the language and plots are OK

singersgirl Fri 10-Oct-08 22:10:24

DS2 was similar in Reception. His teacher was happy for me to supply books if I wanted, so you could suggest that - she realised I had more time to check content than she did. If he's ORT Stage 8, the Go Bananas books are good, as well as the Colour Young Puffins and Hippos. DS2 liked superheroes, and the DK Readers books are good for that - there are 4 levels. The Usborne ones Marina recommends are great - there are fiction and non-fiction at various levels, so space and insects and myths and new fiction. Lots of picture books are great too eg Lauren Child's longer ones. Dr Seuss is good too, particularly the longer/harder ones.

He went through a Mr Man phase and a Beatrix Potter phase as well - in fact, he's 7 now and has just re-read all the Mr Men books. Poetry can be brilliant as it's short but can challenge; DS2 enjoyed 'When We Were Very Young' and 'Now We Are Six' at 4 and 5.

Later in Reception DS read 'Teddy Robinson', 'The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark'.

frogs Fri 10-Oct-08 22:13:09

BINK! Long time no see!

Would love to meet up with you some time, if you're in circulation.


silentbutdeadly Fri 10-Oct-08 22:13:22

ds completely missed out the ORT. He went from Mr Men to joke books, then Roald Dahl. He liked Horrid Henry and Dennis the Menace books.

Bink Fri 10-Oct-08 22:15:53

Hello Frogsl

Tomorrow morning ds is doing a trial session of Remedial Football (in Holland Park). I thought of you

Yes, shall we meet up? How mobile are you?

frogs Fri 10-Oct-08 22:17:51

Sorry, that was a total hijack.

Dd2 also just started reception, and reading the stage 7/8 ORT books (tho' school are sending her home with Level 1 hmm). Most of the ORT really aren't scary, you must have been unlucky. Also recommend the I Can Read books, which crop up in charity shops quite a bit -- there are titles like Father Bear Comes Home (?Sendak?) and Frog and Toad Together / Frog and Toad all Year which are v. gentle and which dd2 is currently enjoying. The higher levels of old Ladybird Read It Yourself and Well-Loved Tales are also great (again, charity shops or ebay).

But it is easier when it's not your first child, as we have piles of the stuff lying around.

For free reading boys, Flat Stanley or Horrid Henry (yawn, but v. popular). A notch up from the ones listed above, though.

frogs Fri 10-Oct-08 22:18:33

Am now mobile and sans crutches as long as I can move at a fairly genteel pace. How is your ds? Has he moved schools?

Bink Fri 10-Oct-08 22:21:54

Actually, I fib. It's Sunday morning
Tomorrow morning dd is having her dress rehearsal to be an Evil Seagull (she loves this) in a ballet of Finding Nemo

More pertinently - dsreaderwhizz - we had the lovely Walker Books Read & Wonder series - non-fiction, charming illustrations, lively original text, just great all round. I got a bargain batch of them from Red House, or the Book People (same entity effectively) and Not A Book Club. In fact if you've got a big reader, they're my major recommendations altogether. (And for you too - I found James Robertson that way.)

Moomin Fri 10-Oct-08 22:26:08

another vote for winnie the pooh, esp because they contain some very clever humour and play on words, which dd1 found endlessly amusing and raised lots of questions. Also poetry anthologies were a real winner for her when she was you ds's age, including A A Milne poetry.

mabanana Fri 10-Oct-08 22:29:02

Paddington is surprisingly hard to read and not really for four year olds. I think the toy bears give a deceptive impression. The original Paddington stories have complex plots, very sophisticated jokes and situations, foreign accents written as they sound, plots about antique shops, Russian ballet dancers and Old Master paintings and sentences like ''Of course,' said Mr Curry, knowledgeably, above the applause. "It's all done by sleight of paw." and "Paddington disappeared in the drawing room and returned carrying his conjuring outfit. There was a short delay while he erected his magic table and adjusted the mystery box, but soon all was ready. The lights were turned off except for a standard lamp and Paddington waved his wand for quiet." and "Paddington was pleased to find it all exactly as Mr Gruber had described it to me, even down to the commissionaire who opened the door for them and saluted as they entered the foyer."

I think it would take a VERY gifted and talented four year old to manage even a single entire chapter which is 20 closely printed page of that sort of thing!

Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton are much easier.

mabanana Fri 10-Oct-08 22:30:38

I vote for poetry. Lovely for children, and short! AA Milne is lovely. Also Child's Garden of Verses, which makes me cry.

gigglewitch Fri 10-Oct-08 22:33:32

has anyone mentioned the DK 'readers' and 'eyewitness' stuff wink
take a look at DK website
my ds2 [not g&t but good reader for his age] is demolishing these, ordered another heap of them last night smile

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