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BOYS READING: How to move them on from 5-8s books to more demanding novels?

(109 Posts)
roisin Wed 29-Aug-07 23:06:17

OK, as many of you know I'm passionate about children's literature, and children reading.

Both boys became very fluent readers at a very early age. DS1 was precocious and read very advanced literature at a very young age (not necessarily an approach I would advocate.)

DS2 has equally precocious reading age scores, but is very reluctant to read novels full stop (reads endless non-fiction).

I am aware that he has not yet become a lifelong reader and IME if he doesn't get there soon society/culture will take over and he will not become one.

Atm he will not read anything more demanding than the likes of:
Horrid Henry
Astrosaurs
The Grk books
Cressida Cowell
Beast Quest
Ghosthunters

Nothing wrong with any of this I know, but how do we bridge the gap to Horowitz, Charlie Higson, Michelle Paver, Georgia Byng, Jenny Nimmo, etc?

Desiderata Wed 29-Aug-07 23:09:09

Unless you have a political grist to grind, then I would suggest Enid Blyton.

maman4 Wed 29-Aug-07 23:12:27

love your name roisin

roisin Wed 29-Aug-07 23:12:57

btw I feel pedantically obliged to point out that my title does not have a grammatical error. I actually intended to use reading as a verb - boys who are reading, rather than as gerund - the reading of the boys: hence no posessive apostrophe required.

However, I agree it looks as though I made a mistake grin

KerryMumbledore Wed 29-Aug-07 23:13:53

My one made the jump with Seriers of Unfortunate Events

Then Hobbit and Harry Potter ones (on his own)

Now stopped again. Back to reading chess books only.

Desiderata Wed 29-Aug-07 23:14:45

Right hmm

frogs Wed 29-Aug-07 23:15:16

Two words: Harry Potter.

Enid Blyton as well (Ds has just read all the Malory towers and St clare's books!), but they're much less, well, boyish. Tho the Famous Five, Secret Seven et al might do the trick.

Have you tried giving him story tapes or CDs of the books you'd like him to read? I find it will often give them the impetus to read the book once they've been shown the easy way in.

PandaG Wed 29-Aug-07 23:15:16

ds loved the Lemony Snickets too. Now back to Horrible Science though.

roisin Wed 29-Aug-07 23:15:37

maman4 - grin Me too.
Do you have Irish roots?

Desiderata - I have to confess I am not at all keen on Enid Blyton.

Legacy Wed 29-Aug-07 23:15:55

How old is he Roisin? I posted about something similar earlier today here

DS1 is 7. He will read all of the stuff you mention himself (and more), but like you, I'm trying to move him on.
DH & I still read to him (we alternate pages) and he will happily read Harry Potter, Narnia, Stig of the Dump etc WITH us, but tends to default to the other stuff on his own.

There seems to be a bit of a gap between the larger print shortish books (for 6-8 year olds, as you say) and 'proper' novels - I'm looking for inspiration too!

Desiderata Wed 29-Aug-07 23:18:13

Well, that's a shame roisin, because your son might be.

slowreader Wed 29-Aug-07 23:18:57

Michael Morpurgo is also brilliant for that bridge. Maybe a quick whizz through all the Famous Fives.
Also Roald Dahl.

roisin Wed 29-Aug-07 23:19:15

Thanks all - please keep all the suggestions coming: all gratefully received even if I proceed to reject them:

Lemony Snicket - not interested.
Harry Potter - ditto shock
The Hobbit - ditto

Frogs - he won't sit and listen to a story from me or on a tape/CD for any serious length of time, and never has done.

Maybe it's all because I didn't have the same time to spend reading with him when he was tiny that I did for pfb?

Bink Wed 29-Aug-07 23:19:53

Agree with Desiderata: Enid Blyton was ds's bridge. The Circus/Island/Mountain etc. etc. of Adventure, I think. Then The Mystery of the Secret Cottage/Stolen Necklace/Third Cat (whatever).

But maybe EB doesn't count as demanding novels?

roisin Wed 29-Aug-07 23:21:09

I do reluctantly have to concede that ds1 did read Enid Blyton, and ds2 has never been exposed to them at all.

What should I start with?

He has read a few Michael Morpurgo slowreader, which is peculiar as he's writing is generally far more complex than other things he has rejected. But he hasn't read the longer MM novels.

Legacy Wed 29-Aug-07 23:21:20

I was looking for booklists and found this on a school website which gave me some ideas.

Bink Wed 29-Aug-07 23:21:24

Ah, cross-post.
Perhaps ... you might allow him a bit of EB? as a bridge? (It was mine, too, I remember.)

Bink Wed 29-Aug-07 23:22:43

I'd say The Mystery of ... series is a bit easier to get into than the ... of Adventure series.

But he's older, so Famous Five & Secret Seven might appeal now.

slowreader Wed 29-Aug-07 23:23:15

Agree EB not demanding or literary in anyway (although she is good at Natural History) but I have found great for boosting confidence in reading 'thick' books. ie if you can read 21 FFs one a day you feel you can read anything! I have truly seen this work.

frogs Wed 29-Aug-07 23:27:38

Will he listen to a tape while doing something else? Ds has just spent most of the past few days listening to endless EB Cds (newspaper freebies) while chipping away at his dinosaur dig kit.

Not interested in Harry Potter? Sheesh. Has he seen the fillums? Also, being read to has been important for ds, particularly since it's dh who's taken charge of that. They've just read The Hobbit together, and are now reading one of dh's huge supply of historical kids' books. Somebody Welch, nothing I'd ever heard of, but seems to feature lots of cavalry charges. They're both in hog heaven... grin

ScummyMummy Wed 29-Aug-07 23:28:20

Is his general concentration ok? My flibbertigibbet boy (8) just doesn't have the concentration for longer books yet. His mind flits about too much. His twin learned to read about a year after him but is now Pottering and beyond due to greater focussing capacity. Have been meaning to start a thread on how to encourage flibbertigibbets to focus, actually.

roisin Wed 29-Aug-07 23:28:25

Gosh this thread is moving so fast I can't keep up! Apologies to anyone I don't respond to.

I feel I will have to add an EB Famous Five novel to my Amazon shopping basket - shock horror!

Bink - it's not really about 'demanding novels', it's more about developing a love of reading and literature, and a desire to spend time reading voluntarily as a fun thing to do.

Legacy - that is such an interesting list: it includes things like Astrosaurs and How to train your dragon that ds2 loves, but also things like Wolf Brother and Lion Boy that he wouldn't touch with a barge-pole.

Sorry I forgot to include his age. He was 8 in May, so going into yr4. So it's not unreasonable for him to be reading 5-8 books, but I think it's high time for him to be moving on.

frogs Wed 29-Aug-07 23:28:27

Oh, and there's a sorely under-rated book called Harry and the Wrinklies, which is also at an in-betweeny sort of level.

ahundredtimes Wed 29-Aug-07 23:28:33

I'm not sure EB is a bridge though. I think reading EB will be reading EB, he won't put down the Famous 5 and then go, oh yes, Anthony Horowitz please. For my ds I would have added EB to the OPs original list, of books read and stuck on.

I have something very similiar going on here though roisin. I found Horowitz's book of horror stories and they've gone down well. Was interested in Lemony Snicket though.

I keep passing him Kenzuke's Kingdom and he keeps dropping it down the side of his bed. I love MM, but he finds him a bit worthy for some reason.

Charlie Higson?

Oh I know what he liked, which were a bit of a bridge were that series of fantasy novels by Chris Riddel, I think. The something chronicles - have you tried them?

elastamum Wed 29-Aug-07 23:29:04

I wouldnt worry too much, it might be better to keeep his reading broad and he will move up when he is ready. just find lots of stuff he likes and reading will become a habit, Have you tried the dangerous book for boys? My 8 year old loves this, mind you he keeps trying to build catapults and camps everywhere. He also loves captain underpants.

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