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Encouraging 6 year old ds to read on his own

(21 Posts)
puddle Wed 24-May-06 12:28:33

My ds is in year 1 and he's getting on great with his reading - is almost off the reading scheme, reads well and is confident. We still have stories at bedtime - we've just finished the Hobbitt - and I want to keep this going as long as possible - we both enjoy it and it's a chance to get him into longer and more involving stories as yet beyond his reading ability.

But I think he ought to be staring to choose and read on his own a bit and I'm not sure how to make that leap. He hardly ever brings a book home from school other than the reading scheme ones he has to read, although they are encouraged to do this - the ones he has brought back are a but too low level. He will get absorbed in a book at home on his own but these tend to be things like Tintin and the marcia williams books (robin hood, greek myths) that are more cartoonish in style.

Any advice?

WigWamBam Wed 24-May-06 12:31:01

Take him to the library and let him chose his own book to read - you can guide him so that he finds books that are the right level. Let him have ten minutes with the book on his own - maybe while you make tea or are otherwise doing something else. Then maybe get him to tell you about the book while he's in the bath or getting ready for bed.

Marina Wed 24-May-06 12:34:13

If he likes Greek myths he would probably enjoy the Usborne Young Readers, such as these, puddle
Amazing Adventures of Ulysses
Ds adored these and they were his first foray into independent reading. We had trouble coaxing him out of a wardrobe he was so engrossed once...
They have plenty of Usborne "house style" illustrations and nice large text.
And to read with him, if you haven't already, I can heartily recommend Atticus the Storyteller

frogs Wed 24-May-06 12:37:55

Horrid Henry did it for my ds last summer, around the time he turned 6. He'd been keen on looking at books for ages -- a good start, I think, gets them in the habit -- but more Tintin etc. Then one day he came to me, clutching a big fat 3-in-one volume of HH and said, "Mummy, did you know, if I look at the pictures I get part of the story, but if I read the words I get the whole story!"

puddle Wed 24-May-06 12:38:39

Thanks both. We do go to the library and he does choose his own books, it's more encouraging him to then want to read them alone rather than with me all the time.

And I guess you're right Marina - it has to be the right book. I'm feeling a bit Greek myth-ed out at the moment, so may give Atticus a miss but the Usborne ones look promising.

puddle Wed 24-May-06 12:40:04

Frogs - cross posted. Have been avoiding Horrid Henry, but maybe they would do the trick...

frogs Wed 24-May-06 12:40:31

Oh, and the higher-level Biff and Chip magic key adventure stories are good for smoothing the way into full-on fiction, if you can stomach the ORT and haven't already done them to death. Ds can occasionally be found reverting to a quick read of Storm Castle etc.

frogs Wed 24-May-06 12:53:13

Agree HH is awful, but pitched at exactly the right level for 6yo boy. You can help ease him into it buy getting one or two on story tape, to save you having to read it yourself.

Mr Majeika good too, but a notch up in difficulty IMO. Ditto the Sophie books by Dick King-Smith, but they tend to appeal more to girls. And once he's worked his way through the entire oevre of HH and Mr Majeika he can move onto Harry Potter, and there's no looking back.

A notch below HH there is also (just nipped upstairs to have a recce of ds's bookshelf) a series by Laurence Anholt of silly/rude slapstick retellings of fairy stories. The one we have is called Rumply Crumply Stinky Pin published by Orchard Books -- the content is about the same difficulty as HH but has extra pictures breaking up the text which might make it more accessible for an early reader. There's a whole genre like that of early chapter books with small blocks of text and lots of pics that seems to have appeared in between dd1 learning to read seven years ago and ds learning over the past couple of years. Some are even written by quite well-known authors (Jacqueline Wilson et al). Our library was quite well stocked with these, IIRC, somewhere in the Reading Scheme section.

puddle Wed 24-May-06 13:10:45

Thanks Frogs - what a useful post. Loads of ideas here - will have a look when we next go to the library.

So did you find that if you read one in a series your ds then went off and read others in the series quite happily?

I am also toying with the idea of introducing special reading time for ds as an extra treat after stories with me, to reflect his older brother status (atm he goes to bed at the same time as dd 3 - they share a room).

kipper22 Wed 24-May-06 13:16:36

ho about that horrible histories series? my 8yo cousin adores these

Marina Wed 24-May-06 13:21:26

Some of the Laurence Anholt stories mentioned by Frogs can be found in M & S of all places. We only had two (Cinderboy being one) but ds loved those too.
Also liked this sort of thing: Hal the Highwayman
and currently has a huge pash on Jeremy Strong after he came and did a fantastic workshop at school last week. His favourite is Fatbag the Demon Vacuum Cleaner...

Marina Wed 24-May-06 13:23:07

And this lovely book too: Dinosaurs' World Cup

frogs Wed 24-May-06 13:31:46

It's all slightly blurred in hindsight. I think he moved fairly fluidly from the higher ORT books, through the transitional ones (at this stage he was still reading them to me, but would pore over them by himself too) through Tintin (still a favourite) and into HH. The latter I do remember v. clearly, cos it was the first proper, solid text book he'd read, and it was obviously such a revelation to him. And luckily there are loads of HH, so once he's got into them you're sorted for a while.

I have found the story tapes useful in encouraging mine to branch into a new series or author. So after ds had finished all the HH, it took him a while to get into anything else. Sometimes having the tape, or even the video in the case of eg. Harry Potter demystifies a new book and means that they know what to expect in terms of character and plot so the actual decoding is less effort, if that makes sense. This works at a higher level as well -- dd1 wouldn't have tackled the Victorian prose of Black Beauty on her own, but after seeing the film, she followed up by reading the book for herself.

I think it helps to have as many books as possible available for them to rootle through, and only occasionally make suggestions of the, "if you liked X you would enjoy Y as well" type. Agree re the Horrid Histories books, if he's into that. We also have a large selection of elderly Ladybird books (history etc) which actually have quite demanding text but plenty of pictures as well and are great favourites with ds despite being so dated.

Specific reading time is a really good thing, especially if you dress it up as a treat and an extension of bedtime, eg. 'You have to be in bed by 6.30 but as long as you stay in bed reading you don't have to put the light out till 7pm". Ds also shares a room with his 2yo sister, so he does his reading time in our bed and moves into his own bed at 7.

puddle Wed 24-May-06 14:36:55

Frogs "luckily there are loads of HH, so once he's got into them you're sorted for a while".

That's my worry. Exactly...

frogs Wed 24-May-06 16:11:18

Series are a good thing, IMO. It doesn't really matter what they're reading as long as they're enjoying themselves. The only thing I would draw the line at is the kiddie horror genre, like Point Horror or Goosebumps, which are just downright nasty. In fact (evil cackle) your ds would probably also enjoy Captain Underpants (freely available in most major bookshops) which makes Horrid Henry look like Proust.

I spent most of my early reading career wallowing in Enid Blyton, before moving onto pony stories (Jill's Gymkhana etc) and still managed to read English at Oxford, so clearly not damaged for life by my early lowbrow literary tastes.

puddle Wed 24-May-06 16:16:56

Yes, me too, I think I read every Georgette Heyer book going at 11 and did me no harm. Although I do still have an obsessive interest in the Royal Pavilion here in Brighton, always imagine self as Frederica when I'm swanning past it....

singersgirl Wed 24-May-06 18:42:38

I loved Jean Plaidy at 9 and 10. And didn't do me any harm either.

Would second all suggestions - DS (8 in August) still loves Tintin and The Beano but moved from around 6 through HH, Captain Underpants, Mr. Majeika, The Worst Witch onto Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket. He really likes series, and he prefers popular things, so if there is a film or a lot of publicity he is more likely to be into it. So now we are on Alex Rider, which frankly seems a bit violent and adult for me.

SSSandy Wed 24-May-06 19:11:37

Marina, like those Greek Myth books, great tip. I'll have a look for those

roisin Wed 24-May-06 19:43:17

Some great suggestions on here already - my boys both loved the Anholt seriously silly stories, and HH of course.

Agree wholeheartedly of course with suggestions from others on here about a time to read, dressed up as a treat. My boys both have significant amounts of "lights on time" when they may read if they choose to ... but if they choose not to they can't do anything else! Other than go to sleep

A couple of faves to add from me along similar lines - i.e. it "looks" like a "proper book", but to encourage a young reader to keep going and persevere: is not over long, has plenty of illustrations, silly sense of humour, and exciting plot with lots of cliffhanger moments:
How to train your viking and
The Legend of Spud Murphy

Marina - we've recently reclaimed our copy of Atticus the Storyteller from friends, and ds1 is loving it again - aged 8 now!

puddle Thu 25-May-06 09:43:15

Ah Roisin I looked at those how to train books and dithered - didn't get them in the end. Will go and have another look.

dinosaure Thu 25-May-06 10:04:24

Agree with all Frogs's suggestions. My DS1 is almost exactly the same age as her DS, and his reading skills have developed in a similar way, but what really did it for him was some of the Roald Dahl stories, in particular Fantastic Mr Fox - so they might be worth a try too.

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