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Year 4 boy - is reading fiction important?

(22 Posts)
sittinginthesun Mon 24-Sep-12 12:00:22

My instinct is that it is, but DS is simply not interested.

I've posted on the Books section, and tried lots of the suggestions, but they just don't grab him.

He went from Roald Dahl and Horrid Henry, to Beast Quest and How to Train Your Dragon, but that's it. Doesn't like Enid Blyton, Michael Morpurgo, Harry Potter, C S Lewis. Just tried the Roman Mysteries, but found them boring.

He reads Horrible Histories, Science, Maths, endlessly.

Very able at reading and English (teacher reckoned level 4b at end of year 3), but I do wonder whether his Literacy will suffer if he doesn't read fiction?

School not remotely worried, btw.

scaevola Mon 24-Sep-12 12:02:57

If school aren't worried then leave him to get on with what he likes.

Yes, he'll need to tackle fiction as part of literacy, but no he doesn't need to be pushed towards books he doesn't like when reading for fun.

betterwhenthesunshines Mon 24-Sep-12 12:52:21

Ultimately, good fiction will help him with his own creative writing. But maybe that won't be his area of interest anyway. YOu could try audio CD books. That way he'll get a more advanced level of story, vocabularly etc without having to do the reading.

I suspect it might click a bit more once he finds a book he enjoys. In the meantime I would encourage him to keep trying new books but let him give them up if he doesn't like them rather than insist he finish them. Do you still read to him?

My DS is a great reader, now Yr 6, but still hates Michael Morpurgo! CS Lewis can be a bit heavy too. If he likes maths try The phantom Tollbooth Depending on his reading level it may be one you have to read with / to him.

Library is your friend!

sittinginthesun Mon 24-Sep-12 12:59:26

Thanks. I do try and read to him, but he often listens politely and says he's had enough. Doesn't matter whether I read or he does - if it's a book he's not interested in, he just isn't interested!

We get endless books from the library, and also have a very good school library, but he just reads the first few chapters, then puts them aside.

As I say, he does read - Horrible Histories etc - and reads a lot. It us just the variety I am concerned about.

beingagoodmumishard Mon 24-Sep-12 13:29:12

Have you tried some older style books. My DS who is 7 loves listening to all the Swallows and Amazons stories. They are still abit hard for him to read but he is slowly working his way through the first book! There is quite abit of sailing terminolgy which might put your son off though.

I would also second The Phantom Tollbooth, love that book smile

Could you try other classic books like Treasure Island, Sherlock Holmes etc. which you can get in children's abridged versions, as they are shorter than the originals your son might not get put off them so quickly

outtolunchagain Mon 24-Sep-12 13:38:08

My ds was like this at 8 but now at 10 is heavily into fiction, so it can come. Have you tried Anthony Horowitz Falcons Malteser series , also Eva Ibbotson is good for this age plus some of Michael Morpurgo. Ds now likes the Young Bond series and a lot of his friends are keen on Percy Jackson

Tiggles Mon 24-Sep-12 22:49:37

DS1 (10) used to mainly read history books, but over the last couple of years or so has become a big fan of spy books e.g. Alex Rider, and then Cherub series. He also read all the Harry Potters, Percy Jacksons and Mr Gum books. He is only really getting into M. Morpurgo now as he is interested in the WW1 and 2 parts of history, but still not a massive fan.
DS2 on the other hand loves M. Morpurgo...

theweekendisnear Tue 25-Sep-12 06:37:55

Maybe he will like Louis Sachar (Wayside school books). They are so funny and weird.

Chopstheduck Tue 25-Sep-12 06:45:07

I agree that it may come later. Ds1 (10) went through nearly a year at that age mostly reading comics! But he is back on fiction now, it just took a little while. He is mostly reading Walliams and Beast Quest - his reading ability isn't brilliant. Have you tried asking at the library for suggestions? Ours are great for suggestions based on what the children have previously enjoyed.

outtolunchagain I'd never heard of the Young Bond series! I have a Y3 child who is obsessed by James Bond, would you say the content would be suitable for a 7 year old?

lljkk Tue 25-Sep-12 09:08:55

But he already has read loads of fiction, way more than my yr4 boy for sure, he'll come back to it again, there's no reason for it to always be high on his reading list.

So Not That Important, I humbly opine.

DH got a good degree, makes a good salary, struggles to read fiction, 3 pages & he's asleep!

DottyDot Tue 25-Sep-12 09:12:39

I think if he's reading, then that's great- doesn't really matter what. How about getting him a magazine subscription - Match or Match of the Day if he's into football, or whatever he's into? It's a different type of reading and my ds's do it almost without realising grin

Have you tried Lemony Snicket - A Series of Unfortunate Events? Ours got obsessed with them and there are 13 if he likes them!

Honestly I wouldn't worry - just be pleased he's reading something!

GooseyLoosey Tue 25-Sep-12 09:15:02

Ds (now in Yr 5) is really into maths etc. The best books he has ever read are the Skulduggery Pleasant books by Derek Landy. He would walk around reading them and laugh out loud all of the time. They are quite dark but apparently very funny.

He also loved the Pseudonymous Bosch books and the Curious Benedict Society.

Those books managaed to reinvigorate his love of reading.

sittinginthesun Tue 25-Sep-12 10:44:12

Thanks everyone. I'll have a look unto those suggestions (we are pretty avid library users, and their ordering service is good).

I'll try and relax a bit. It's just his reading record looks very bare! He's very polite, but very sure of himself (stubborn...), so I tend to just leave books lying around, in the hope he'll pick them up!

KitKatGirl1 Tue 25-Sep-12 19:37:52

Definitely relax a bit. Ds and his best friend both very good early readers. But both went through a huge non-fiction preference around 9-10 ish and now (at 11 and 12) both avidly reading fiction again. Thing is not to make him feel that one kind of reading is less valid than another. You can record his non-fiction reading in his reading record too!

KitKatGirl1 Tue 25-Sep-12 19:41:52

Oh and rather than banging the fiction drum without reward at the mo, why not take advantage of the non-fiction obsession and get him some stuff that's more sophisticated than the 'Horribles' stuff? Ds read the Brian Cox 'Secrets of' books and lots of other adult non-fiction books at about that age and learned so much. Might as well go with the flow and he'll be impressing the science and maths teachers instead!

Ferguson Tue 25-Sep-12 20:54:15


These might be considered old fashioned now, but I have always enjoyed Arthur Ransome books. Start with Swallows and Amazons, and you get innocent adventure, history, geography, wildlife, all in one story. Although it is based on Lake District locations they are not geographically accurate.

Coot Club, set on the Norfolk Broads, IS accurate, and I have followed all the locations on a 2-1/2" Ordnance Survey map. It also captures the era (1930s) very accurately.

Another Lake District series are the Fell Farm Holiday series of three shorter books (we found in jumble sales or charity shops, as probably out of print)

Send me PM if want any more info.

DorsetKnob Tue 25-Sep-12 20:55:41

I think reading is important whether it is fiction of non-fiction. DD prefers non-fiction.

beingagoodmumishard Tue 25-Sep-12 21:05:07

Ferguson we are reading Coot Club to our DS (7) at the moment and we are all loving it

Tiggles Tue 25-Sep-12 22:19:15

DS1 and 2 are currently both enjoying me reading the Machine Gunners, which he might like if he likes history. DS1 can read it fine and DS2 can read some of it, so sure an 8 yr old would be able to read it.

purpleroses Tue 25-Sep-12 22:22:38

Try Diary of a Wimpy Kid - DSS is 9 and was a reluctant reader until I bought him the boxed set of that, and he read his way through the lot!

He's now reading Alex Rider, which is quite a step up, but he seems to have made the jump and be enjoying it (plus he likes doing anything my DS (12) does, and DS reads Alex Rider)

But wouldn't worry too much about not reading fiction if he reads other things. He can always get back into it.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Tue 25-Sep-12 22:58:10

My DS progressed from Train your Dragon books to Percy Jackson. Seemed a smaller leap than HP. He also devoured Horrible Science, Murderous Maths etc. The Number Devil is another good maths story.

Jenny70 Wed 26-Sep-12 22:02:12

I would say it is an advantage to his other schoolwork, but not important...

My DH at 40 has only ever read non fiction - the only fiction he has ever read are the books he studied in high school and 1984 (which he read about 10 years ago). He is well adjusted, very knowledgeable and generally "normal".

My DS who also devours non fiction also appreciated humour, often quite black humour... he liked Tickled Onions and Other Funny Stories (Morris Gleitzman), can't think of the others - but humourous books.

Also, not exactly great reading development, but tintin and asterix are also popular here.

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