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should I be concerned - 7 and half son - can't read chapter books

(30 Posts)
proudmama72 Tue 01-Apr-14 17:16:36

He can read a few pages, but doesn't read the whole book independently. I read them with him so he doesn't lose interest.

thepoodoctor Tue 01-Apr-14 17:20:26

What sort of chapter books? And is it can't or won't? My 7.5 year old has an excellent reading age and certainly could read chapter books, but still likes me to read to him smile

Do school have any concerns?

givemeaclue Tue 01-Apr-14 17:20:52

Can he read the books he brings home from school, what does teacher say about his progress? presumably you aren't expecting to read the whole book in one go, can he read a few pages at a time?

Thepoodoctor Tue 01-Apr-14 17:22:35

And would he read ( to take a random example) a Minecraft annual? smile

RedBlanket Tue 01-Apr-14 17:25:35

Can't or won't?
Mine didn't really start reading chapter books till the craze for Beastquest hit school.
Perhaps your DS just has t found anything that has grabbed him yet.

columngollum Tue 01-Apr-14 17:38:38

Can't he just read a different book?

proudmama72 Tue 01-Apr-14 17:50:22

he can definitely read a few pages and enjoys the story, but wouldn't pick it up on his own and read independently. School says he is average

simpson Tue 01-Apr-14 18:50:21

What year is he in?

Have you tried taking him to the library and letting him pick what he wants?

LittleMissGreen Tue 01-Apr-14 19:06:26

DS2 is 7.5 he has been capable of reading chaper books independently for a long while - he would read them to me for his school reading. BUT it is only in the last couple of weeks that he has started picking up long fiction books to read for pleasure. He would usually choose to sit and read scientific encyclopedias.

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 01-Apr-14 19:48:09

What about if he read a bit, you read a bit (to stop conveniently at an exciting bit) and then he reads a bit more?

proudmama72 Tue 01-Apr-14 19:50:26

that's exactly what we do. It worked with my older child but she was reading independently at this stage - I hate comparing my kids to each other.

That's just what I have to gage it on.

MmeMorrible Tue 01-Apr-14 19:52:33

What kinds of books has he tried? How about trying something funny like the Jeremy Strong books such as 'my brothers famous bottom' or quirky like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series? I think the trick is to find a series of books he really enjoys and wants to keep going with.

AbbyR1973 Tue 01-Apr-14 21:41:25

Just a question, but when your DD started reading independently did you carry on reading to her at bedtime as well? Perhaps DS really enjoys being read to and perceives that this will stop when he starts reading independently? It's funny the way children sometimes see things in an unexpected way....

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 01-Apr-14 22:04:05

I think some children just really enjoy it and others don't. Perhaps he finds chapter books just too daunting, perhaps he would prefer a collection of short stories in a bigger book first so that he can read just one chapter but have a whole story? what about something like the Magic Faraway Tree where each chapter is a whole story?

Llareggub Tue 01-Apr-14 22:10:16

No. Mine can't. He's 8 in October.

He's bright, awesome at maths and just sees numbers. He can do stuff in his head that I need to do on my fingers.

He really struggles with reading and would rather do sums, Lego or chew his toenails than read.

I'm working with the school on it and he reads to me every evening and at school every morning. With him it is a mixture of confidence and not really grasping phonics. He tends to memorise words rather than use phonics. It has been really enlightening listening to his younger brother because he just gets it.

My son is on an IEP for his reading. I'm not that concerned. He is a bright, independent thinker and ace at maths. He'll get there eventually. I hope!

diamondage Tue 01-Apr-14 22:38:11

According to this chart the roughly expected level at the end of year 2 is gold band books (roughly in that gold is equated to NC L2b).

This chart says that some purple books have short chapters and some gold ones slightly longer ones. On the other hand DD's various scheme books didn't have chapters until white.

I'd suggest early reader books which have very short chapters with lots of colour pictures as the way to ease the transition. Usborne do some fantastic ones with big type, lots of superb illustrations and short chapters covering a big range of subjects at least a few of which should appeal. I think the chapter ones are the Young Readers series 2, possibly 1 as well. Series 3 are at a higher level again so might not be suitable yet. If you look on their website Usborne have sample pages you can view to help you decide the right level.

richmal Tue 01-Apr-14 22:59:55

I too was good at maths, but found reading difficult, so I thought you might like a bit of insight.

It was work. My heart would sink when being confronted by a page of writing in much the same way as seeing a pile of washing up to do. When you get to the end, you know you'll be asked to turn the page and there's another lot of work stretching out in front of you. When you're seven or eight books have a lot of pages.

Then there is the interesting start to get you into the story. No it does not. What the author wanted to be enigmatic is simply confusing when you're struggling through the opening sentences, with no clue what is going on and by the end of the first paragraph caring less and less.

By the time you are ready for chapter books, the stories are comparatively infantile. Any hopes of taking up reading were finally stamped on by Enid Blyton.

There is always the optimistic view that a child catch up. No they do not. At university if we were given a few pages to read for five minutes so it could be discussed I would know I stood no chance. I would just time it to pretend I wasn't last again when I pushed the paper aside and looked up.

In the past I have suggested the Usbourne puzzle books which provide a reward of solving a puzzle between a bit of reading.

Short stories, reading with a parent and doing a page each, stopping to look at the pictures, CD's of books to listen to so the books are not so difficult to get into, basically anything you can do to make reading less of a chore will help.

I hope if nothing else this helps you see reading from your child's point of view.

Llareggub Wed 02-Apr-14 08:53:53

I found some excellent books for the maths obsessed reluctant readers. They are a bit like the choose your own adventure series, but with maths problems to solve before going on to the next piece of text.

My DS won't read chapter books but I can usually get him to read a non-fiction book with me, with us alternating paragraphs and chuckling over our inability to say the tricky scientific words.

My mother got my football obsessed brother reading with the sports pages of the Mirror.

pinkdelight Wed 02-Apr-14 09:58:03

What are the mathsy adventure books called, Llaregubb??

proudmama72 Wed 02-Apr-14 10:15:43

My son is on an IEP for his reading. I'm not that concerned. He is a bright, independent thinker and ace at maths. He'll get there eventually. I hope!

I think you have very good attitude. I don't think you be should too concerned either.

Thewhingingdefective Wed 02-Apr-14 10:24:12

I wouldn't worry too much. Just keep offering a range of different reading materials - magazines, comics, fiction and factual books. My DS (just turned 8) has only recently started enjoying chapter books (Astrosaurs), and enjoyed Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dennis the Menace. Other than that he liked looking at annuals (Moshi Monsters, Skylanders, Minecraft) and info books like sharks, dinosaurs etc. He loves the Guinness Book of Records too.

Try to find some chapter books with largish print, short chapters and plenty of pics. You could try taking turns to read, doing a page each.

My son seemed to struggle with reading for ages and then suddenly got into it. He's not great at reading aloud - stumbles over words a lot- but I let him read alone and then quiz him on what he's read, which seems to work okay.

noramum Wed 02-Apr-14 10:28:39

I second the Usborne books. DD reads them and enjoys them a lot more than the books made from cheap beige paper and no pictures at all.

I also like that the stories are a lot better than what else is on offer.

She used them to build up stamina and now moves over to the typical paperbacks on her own.

blueberryupsidedown Wed 02-Apr-14 10:54:59

Maybe if he chooses the books he likes. Horrid Henry? Diary of a wimpy kid? Also you can read a chapter, he reads a chapter is a good idea. Or some kids don't like fiction - try non fiction books, about a subject of his choice - DS2 is into cars, and regularly borrows Top Gear books from the library. Usborne books are fantastic. Chapter books will probably come a bit later, or when he finds something he really likes. DS1 is into the Young James Bond books. My MIL said to me the other day she hates the Diary of a wimpy kid books, 'wouldn't it be better for them if they read something like Just William'... ok...

sotiredtoday Wed 02-Apr-14 11:34:53

I wouldn't worry or put pressure on him. Just get him to continue reading with you / to you daily to get the routine in. The key is to find books that he is interested in. I agree with the previous poster: have you tried he Horrid Henry books ? Or the Dirty Bertie books : 7 year old boys loooove those. I find them a bit yuck, but it does the job.
You'll find lots of other reading suggestions for this age on, maybe he will want dinosaurs, aliens, dragon books (How to Train your Dragon is very popular in a year or 2) ??

PastSellByDate Wed 02-Apr-14 11:41:23

Hi proudmama72

I'm from the US where school doesn't start until the year you turn 7 and often children start at age 6 with few reading skills. So my feeling is ages 7 - 9 is when reading skills really take off.

First off at age 7 I would still be reading with my child. If your DC doesn't like reading, but can do it - play to that:

In terms of reading each night - I'd say at this age you should have your DC read to you and should still be reading to your DC (in fact my DD1 Y6/ DD2 Y4 still have me read to them - but reduced to 1 night a week, and I'm reading a chapter each weekend from the Lemony Snicket series - sometimes two when it's really exciting).

With DD1 (who had problems saying 'r' so didn't like reading out loud & struggled to learn to read) we started off with reading a few words out of a sentence, and then I'd read the rest of the paragraph.

Then we had her read a whole sentence and I'd read the rest of the paragraph & maybe the next one.

Then we had her read a whole paragraph and I'd read the rest of the page.

Then she read one page and I read one page.

About then, she either preferred to totally read to me or if she was tired for me to read to her - so we just took turns. Quite often she starts, but gets sleepy and asks me to finish the chapter.

Getting into the habit of finishing the chapter when reading (so you know what happens and are set up for the next night) gets them use to reading more than just a page or two.


'Chapter Books' can be quite an issue in class and certainly DD2 was mercilessly teased in Y1 about not reading chapter books yet. Unfortunately she was then given a chapter book for guided reading that was much harder than anything she'd ever had and so she felt a total failure, was moved down a table the next week (again feeling a total failure) and was completely dejected about reading. Took me months to give her the confidence to do it.

So my advice is go to a book store/ library/ etc... and look at books with your DC - there are easier chapter books out there (Early Readers Series: for example) which your DC can start off slowly with.

Richard and Judy bookclub (through WH Smith) had a range of new books that were a lot of fun to read - some of their selections are still archived: - DD2 particularly liked Roodica the Rude - nice mix of Roman Britain (which she adores) and chapter book but with pictures!


Finally - have a think about whether your DC is still struggling to blend sounds. If reading is still an effort (80% of words are difficult/ maybe even 50% of words are difficult) - you may need to still be supporting basic 'decoding' skills (so what the letters stand for). Over-exaggerating how you sound out words and discussing what tricky words mean are still things that you may need to be doing to support your DC's reading.


My girls are 9 and 11 and to be honest proudmama72 I'm still reading with them and they're still regularly reading to me. It's moved on now to discussing vocabulary and use of language whilst we read, but they still need my input. In general DH and I have found it easiest to support reading by just making it part of the routine with our DDs - so whilst one is bathing he or I read with the other.


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