Alternative books for gold level(48 Posts)
DS is doing really well with his reading. He's 5.5 (summer born year 1) and just moved up to gold.
Until now its been all biff and chip and other colourful reading scheme books which he has enjoyed (me not so much!) but the gold box at school seems very short on interesting books but more importantly, age appropriate. Lots of true stories with photographs rather than illustrations, subjects eg the slave trade, victorian times etc which he's just not that into. Or some really old and uninspiring reading scheme books aimed. They seem aimed at slightly older kids. Reading has for the first time become a bit of a chore and we seem to have got out of the habit of reading every day.
He's funny about reading large format picture books as he still likes me to read those to him and his little bro. Associates them with bedtime cuddles I guess. He likes me reading chapter books to him too - Faraway tree, Roald dahl, Pippi Longstocking - and some chapter books with fewer words per page, he'll read a bit, I'll do a bit eg. 13 Storey Tree house. But he isn't ready to read a chapter book himself. He doesn't really have the stamina, and he gets tired quickly. He just loves being read to and the earlier reading scheme books were different enough in format for him to feel they were 'his' books. He would probably manage the chapter books if they were illustrated and with larger print. He does have great comprehension but still I find a lot of the next step books a little bit over his head, especially if they don't have pictures.
So far we have had success with the Claude books and he has read all of the 1st pack of Project X Alien books. I have the second pack waiting but I'd like some other ideas before starting those (he got obsessed with the first pack and its all we did for about a fortnight, and I have other DC at home for the hols so not ideal!)
Am I missing anything? Shortish, illustrated, appropriate for his age.
Thanks in advance
Watching with interest as DD similar, Yr 1, just moved out of gold but books that are coming home, whilst the words are appropriate and the right level, the subject matter doesn't really appeal yet as she's only just turned 6 and the content seems a bit more serious.
Hopefully somebody will have some suggestions!
We have had exactly the same problem. Towards the end of Reception DD started to find the content of the books less gripping and we felt it was not so age appropriate. In Y1 it has become even more of a problem: lots of books about war, challenging science/engineering concepts, books about film making etc without any respite in the form of a good clean story!
School were a bit slow to react, so we made sure we used the local library a lot, so she always had something suitable to read. We didn’t follow book bands slavishly but just went with what we felt might be ok and what DD was interested in. Sometimes DD wouldn’t finish the school books that week, and we’d write an explanation of why in her reading record (and also document other books she’d read from home/library).
Last term DD’s teachers purchased some additional books ‘just’ for DD (so they claim!) which are a bit Enid Blyton heavy but are much more enjoyable for her. While DD is clearly ahead with her reading, I struggle to believe she’s so exceptional that the school doesn’t already contain any suitable material – but nevertheless I’m grateful that she’s now enjoying some school books, even if they’ve only managed to achieve this by bypassing the reading scheme for the time being!
I know it’s now the holidays, but have you talked to his teacher about this? It’s definitely a good idea to let them know how he feels about the current reading material: maybe they can help him to choose something suitable. If you can supplement it from the library and document what else he is reading, hopefully you’ll be able to get him interested again.
Once the child can read, surely the scheme books are surely there to provide access to and information about different forms of things to read that they wouldn't otherwise be. So, yes a minority of the books would be simple stories that engage. Especially as such short stories are unlikely to engage anyway, it's a book designed to support 5-10minutes of reading, very difficult to have a story which engages, unless it happens to match a particular interest.
So just read them quickly, and move on to books that are interesting, if a child never liked poetry for example, would you really think it appropriate that they never learnt to recite it?
I'd assume a gold level kid could read anything at all, DD certainly could, although schools seem to move people through bands in wholly different ways - but I thought the full phonic range should've been covered by orange.
Mind you, unlike ginmummy1, I've not seen any books which are not age appropriate, but I do see that age appropriateness is not an absolute, what I think is fine for my 5.5 year old, may well differ to others.
What's gold level? In the ORT scheme?
My 5.5 year old likes to read the Julia Donaldson stories we read to her as a child. We read longer story books to her - currently a ballerina book that's not that exciting!
Have also got her fact books she sits and looks/reads on her own eg about London
She also likes more complex lift the flap books i.e. Fact based books and you lift the flap to see the fact underneath.
Her school does the ORT but also song bird phonics which are a bit different
In terms of specific book recommendations, your local library is likely to have plenty of banded books (different schemes though) and 'early reader’ versions of series such as Horrid Henry (which DD hates but works for some!). I tried to discourage DD from getting hooked on any one thing at this stage, and encouraged a broad range of authors/styles.
Yes I remember gold band in year 1,'All About Hair' was my personal low point 🙈. The book people do lots of books called 'Early Readers'. They're chapter books but with colour pictures, there's Horrid Henry ones and lots of others too.
Any of these suggestions any good?
Have you heard of Reading Chest? We used it with my DS and you can choose a package to suit you. They send books in the post at your chosen band level and you return them to exchange for more. We used them to top up the books he brought home from school as they have a very good range.
a set similar to these has been popular with my boys
I also picked up a set of Usborne "young readers" but can't see similar on Google. Can photo if you want. The couple we have read so far have been popular story wise with my 5 year old, and reading wise with my 7 year old.
I've just purchased these for my 5 yo gold reader and he can't get enough of them. roughly 3 chapters each and wide variety of subjects.
My ds liked the Horrid Henry early readers, I think they were gold/ white level.
At gold level eldest was reading the early reader books mentioned above, dinosaur cove and magic treehouse books
I'm not exactly sure where gold comes in as DC's school only go up to about level 5 with scheme books.
Our intro to chapter books was things like Frank Rodgers - Pirate Penguins series and others. And Jeremy Strong's Pirate School books. A little more word and less picture than most picture books and with chapters but still colour pictures. These and more lived in the "easy readers" section of our library. There are also colour easy reader versions of Horrid Henry and stuff, though my two never really got into those.
We also tend to find that at some point they get fed up of waiting for you to read the next chapter tomorrow and just take the book off to bed with them. So keep on reading to him! Only problem is I now never get to find out how books end, I often end up reading the first few chapters of a book several times over the months but never the last!
Daisy and the trouble with...
(various different stories) my dd liked at that stage in reception. Also the dire rainbow fairies. 🙄
Puffin do some early reader stories
Mango and Bambang
Also lots of non fiction and poetry good
We are big fans of John Hegley's poems
My DS likes Mr Gum and they're not excruciating to read together. They're partly illustrated and quite fun.
He then moved on to the how to train your dragon series and diary of a wimpy kid.
We're now reading Harry Potter together but he's 6.5. He wouldn't have enjoyed it last year.
My Drs is the same age (late summer born too) and on gold shelf also. He loves the horrid Henry early reader section which we get from the library but he also reads a huge amount in non fiction. He loves the deadly 60 books and the 100 most series - his favourite thing is to ready about any animal that could potentially kill him !!
Sorry to un-recommend but I'd avoid wimpy kid. Or at least look at it first before you give to a young child, I wish I had. Really age-inappropriate in my opinion, particularly the attitude to girls.
Thanks for all of these replies. Lots of things to look at.
I should have said, school are not bothered about him reading their books as long as he is still reading to me at an appropriate level. Teacher seems to trust me but hasn't really given that much guidance, although I haven't specifically asked for help. She's tried steering DS to the right section in the school library but he gravitates towards younger picture books still when left to his own devices.
Re phonics, someone upthread said they should have covered all phonics by orange level - not sure how this can be true when they are still learning phonics in yrs 2,3 etc? I looked online at the phonics screening test (we are not UK and don't have it) and the made up words were very short and DS read them easily, but does that mean they should be able to read very long, more complex words by now? We haven't come across many words in the gold school books that he can't read, but he does stumble on longer words we come across else where. He does need reminding to slow down, break it down and not guess, but he can do it with encouragement. He's got used to being able to read everything in his school reading books without having to think about it I think. For example, we read a book about the first sherpa to climb Everest, and there were lots of Tibetan names he struggled with eg Chomolungma (luckily I know pronunciation as have been there!) - that was a gold level book. Maybe a bad example as phonetically thats not really that complicated... but anyway he couldn't pronounce it correctly until I told him!
When I mentioned books not being age appropriate, I meant for example levels of sarcasm which go completely over his head, he just carries on reading and I have to stop him, explain the joke, he might not get it - basically he's not ready to read that on his own. Stories being about subjects that might interest 6.5 year old but not a young 5 year old. Flat Stanley for example had a load of jokes that he didn't really get, although he did mostly enjoy reading it. The slavery book from the gold box at school just really upset him!
He's really enjoying 13 storey tree house at the moment, that has lots of pictures and annotations, but he really would prefer I read it to him. Smaller early reader type books that have been mentioned seem more accessible to him - I think its something he's got stuck in his head, that if its colour and looks like a school reading book then its for him to read, if its black and white and thick then mummy reads it. Thats ok for now, just wondered if it was normal and whether that would correlate with gold level.
Those Walkers books look good Kanga, Are they short, read in one sitting books (DS will do up to 20 mins I reckon) or chapter books? I'll order some of the early readers too I think or tell him to look out for them in the school library. Our local library is pretty rubbish for that level - loads of books I think he'll love in a year but not a lot appropriate for now.
Those who have said their gold readers can read anything, have they carried on reading them aloud to you? I gather this is the important bit, or should I be encouraging him to read to himself? he shares a room and a bedtime with 3 yo DS2 so I can't really send him to bed to carry on reading. Sometimes he takes himself off to read on his own and he'll pick up a lift the flap usborne book like someone has mentioned. But I don't thiknk they're really right for reading aloud - I'm trying to get him to use more character voices for example and they don't really lend themselves to that. Also I worry that when he reads on his own, I'm not convinced that he would come to me and ask about a word he doesn't understand, he'd just skim over it and not get the whole meaning. Anyway currently he just enjoys reading to me, much more than reading to himself.
Anyway thanks again for all the suggestions. I'll have another good look through and do some spending. And I'll definitely speak to the teacher after the holidays.
Thanks for that catkind! I must admit it doesn't appeal to me really. Nor does horrid henry - can't say I've ever looked in one but I really don't want to encourage the toilet humour - or have I got the wrong end of the stick?!
my daughter was on gold in year one, she enjoyed the magic treehouse mysteries. I think they were gold. Would get him used to reading chapters and black and white illustrations.
She is a free reader now and there are about 4 levels to go for your ds to then be able to read anything.
From what her teacher told me going up a level (benchmarking) isn't just based on being able to read the words but also comprehending the story and being able to produce written work at that level. So if he's struggling with some of the jokes maybe he needs a bit longer on some of the lower level books
Those who have said their gold readers can read anything, have they carried on reading them aloud to you?
Yes, and it's also why we both prefer getting poetry and plays and things, as the reading aloud is performance as well as reading - but there's no stumbling or stuttering over pronunciation, I get the impression in other schools she'd be a past gold. She also reads things that can be more performed for fun to me, but most of her actual reading is in bed alone, and doesn't appear to skim as occasionally asks for the meaning of words, they tend to be either factual or Roald Dahl.
Perhaps despite being a summer born yr 1, her interests and access to sarcasm etc. is older and generally is happier with older age stuff
You're right fruit, our teacher has also mentioned comprehension is important before moving up a level - the sarcasm/jokes/ etc I referred to was in books that we have picked up ourselves - that's why I was looking for recommendations as I hadn't really found anything spot on. School books are just boring, or about subject matters that don't interest him. They're pretty much all historical biographies/non fiction. No jokes in the school books that's for sure!! However - I very much doubt he could write at gold level! His writing is definitely behind his reading. But I think that's handwriting holding him back rather than content. Maybe I should stick to easier books for the time being and not try to challenge him so much.
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