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How to interest and challenge an advanced reader?(18 Posts)
My dd is in year 3 and is reading and has the comprehension of a secondary school aged child (confirmed on school administered reading test).
She has 100s of books, and I take her regularly to the library to borrow books. She loves reading and reads for hours a day.
I wonder if there are any resources out there that may benefit her, or any other suggestions?
Just leave her doing it. Most parents would saw their arm off for this situation. The more she is left alone, the more she will carry on enjoying it. DD was very similar and still is, but parental recommendation or encouragement is the kiss of death for a book.
The only exception to that is that we ordered in - from our fab library - whole series of books if she had liked one of them. Also get the librarians to suggest things to her.
Other things she did enjoy were a book group - run by our library - and reviewing books for our local bookshop. Other children I know have gone into bookshops and helped on a Saturday by recommending books.
Is she interested in creative writing? If so there is a great book by Christopher Edge on writing for kids which she might also enjoy.
As well as books, you could perhaps get her a subscription to a child-friendly newspaper.
Her vocabulary is probably also advanced so she might enjoy playing Scrabble (don't bother buying the junior version, just start with the standard Scrabble set).
I was an advanced reader at that age and just devoured Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton etc. but I know these haven't aged particularly well. There are probably modern equivalents. The What Katie Did trilogy comes in a huge book so feels more grown up but I think the content is ok for an 8 year old.
Sounds great. I'd just continue with lots of library visits and let her choose what she wants.
I would say that you might want to steer her towards older, more classic children's books, in order to challenge her in terms of language etc without introducing inappropriately adult themes. She might be able to read the teen section, but it probably won't be suitable. Better off with Alice in Wonderland, Wind in the Willows, E Nesbitt, The Borrowers etc etc
My DD enjoyed many of the classic children's stories as the language and vocab was more advanced than modern books eg Noel Streatfield, E Nesbitt, Arthur Ransome, Alison Uttley. Even now at 14, she really enjoys Agatha Christie.
There are lots of 'classic' children's books which she might enjoy and could challenge her as the language is slightly different. Don't rush to books aimed at older children which may have unsuitable content (I had to remove a book from my DD at that age because it spoke about Santa Claus not being real!). Keep talking about what she is reading because otherwise she may know what a word means without knowing its pronunciation (still sometimes a problem for me).
Take care with content of some books. Jacquline Wilson is a great writer but some of her work is definitely for teenager audiences.
Have you considered asking her to write reviews? I used to teach a young lad with a disability which meant reading was a wonderful past time for him. He ended up writing reviews for Waterstones book shop. He was given a selection of new books now and then in return for writing reviews of new titles.
Otherwise just let her read. My eldest and youngest were like this and are still avid readers. The middle two weren’t but one started reading a lot in his thirties. The other one loves music.
Thank you for the suggestions on books to get, as well as ones to avoid! She will literally read anything. I am just keen to keep her challenged, and have more variety, as she becomes fixated on certain authors.
Writing reviews is an excellent idea!
I am wondering if there are any reading clubs or schemes for avid readers (or where I might find these)?
I do generally let her get on with her reading (she has been an independent reader for years) but I am wondering if I should do more since she is so far advanced (nearly 5 years from her chronological age). School I feel aren't able to challenge her. I guess I am doing something right though since she has done so well.
I think PPs are right to look outside just fiction books and maybe engage those skills in the real world a bit. The junior newspaper is a great idea. We also listen to radio 4 news, talk politics with DD, argue from different viewpoints. Answer all her questions. It's all critical thinking, absorbing info and reaching your own point of view, picking up other things like empathy and prioritisation along the way. Reading comprehension tests are a stepping stone to engaging analytical thinking IRL in my view. Your DD's great at them; fab. Time to expand her horizons.
My DD was an able reader too (tested as age 12 when she was 7 but can't take these things all that seriously). Her big fixation in Y3 was the Roman Mysteries. Now she is 12, still loves reading, and her dad still reads with her every night but she also has a whole load of general knowledge and opinions. I would recommend looking wider.
She enjoys non fiction reading too. She reads a lot of books about history, as well as geography, science etc. She even enjoys reading thesauruses and dictionaries!
A junior newspaper is an interesting idea, I'll have a look into that. She loves subscriptions, and we currently get the pheonix magazine and whizz pop bang.
Really interesting point regarding critical thinking, thank you.
Look into Aquila, a lovely magazine. And maybe National Geographic!?
Agree with those who have suggested the classic children's literature. But anything goes really, it's wonderful she's enjoying reading.
Ask at the local library about a children's book club. I know ours had one, but can't remember if it was for a certain age group.
DD loves The Week Junior and I think it's really good for that age group - news presented in an appropriate way but not dumbed down.
I'd agree with suggesting older, classic novels as well as whatever she is choosing for herself - have a look through the list of Carnegie medal winners for some ideas. Authors like Alan Garner and Diana Wynne-Jones are great if she loves JK Rowling and Philip Pullman for example.
I was an extremely advanced reader as a child, the only thing that kept me interested after a certain point was Shakespeare, I loved to read aloud so plays were brilliant for that and learning the difference in language and rhythms kept me learning new things.
Honestly, we did nothing with DD apart from just chuck as many books as we could her way, and find places where she could get more and talk about books. I don't think she was ever challenged at primary school, but she rocked up to secondary and her English teacher said she wrote probably the best starting essay he has ever seen from a Yr7. The reading itself is all the challenge they need.
But oh yes, the Roman Mysteries, that was an obsession here too. It reminds me, there are stages where their reading ability is way ahead of their emotional comprehension. Yr3 was one - and Roman mysteries very good because it's a whodunit, not complex. It happened again in Yr6, when she wasn't ready for the emotional complexities of YA.
I always tried to keep this in mind too
I was not a particularly advanced child, but I can still remember when I was about 8, and my mum found me in my room beside myself because I had read "Of Mice and Men". My parents did not censor my reading at all. That was one of the very few times that it backfired.
I have bought a subscription to the week junior. I told her about it and she is happy to be getting more reading material through the post but isn't a fan that it is age appropriate. She said she would like to read about 'deaths and disasters' too.
I'll check with the local library but our council seems to have cut most things here sadly.
Thank you for the additional reading suggestions.
DD had a junior newspaper into the start of secondary school. Now she reads the i on Saturdays. Age appropriate can be a wide range.
Re things like Philip Pullman, no matter how good a reader she is, I think it is really valuable to keep reading things with her. DD did things like His Dark Materials and the Sally Lockhart mysteries later with her dad. She physically could have read them earlier but reading with an adult she got to ask a lot more questions and talk about themes, parallels etc. Stuff like Terry Pratchett you can also get more of reading together, as there are a lot of references a child will likely miss. Not that you need to spot them to enjoy the book, but it adds something if you do. (Careful of Sally Lockhart btw, they are great but they have with some fairly adult ideas in them.)
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