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Books to read to 11 year old

26 replies

Blackcathaireverywhere · 30/01/2014 10:12

Does anyone have any suggestions of books to read to a 11 year old? He reads a fair amount to himself and likes horror/action kind of books (e.g. Cirque du Freak, Maze Runner, Alex Rider)...but we all still enjoy reading a book to him at bed time.

Lately though, nothing is quite hitting the mark. I think I would like to read some books that stretch him a bit, maybe some children's classics, but he seems to bore quite easily! We tried The Lost World but he didn't enjoy it (I loved it and finished it on my own!). He seemed to quite like A Series of Unfortunate Events, but doesn't seem to want to hear book 2!

We've got plenty of ideas of books for him to read to himself, but I feel like the ones we read to him should be slightly different (maybe that's where I am going wrong!).


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ZeroSomeGameThingy · 30/01/2014 10:39

Perhaps if you share some of your "read to himself" list it might help, at least to eliminate things!

Books we've enjoyed "aloud" (partly) over the past couple of years include:

The Hobbit

The 39 Steps

Goodnight Mr Tom (adults far more traumatized by nastiness than 10 yr old...)

Or how about

The Graveyard Book

Watership Down

Any Sherlock Holmes.....?

MrsSteptoe · 30/01/2014 10:47

Gosh, I admire you still reading to your 11yo - I have always felt guilty that I don't do this, but I really do hate it, even though I'm a perfectly competent reader (i.e. it's not about literacy wobbles!)
DS has just read Pig Heart Boy, the Deadly Dare books, and Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman, and he's just started Animal Farm (and I'd forgotten what a brilliant book that is). Oh, and he enjoyed the first Cherub book by Robert Muchamore in the boy-spy-action category - they're very popular, seemingly.
My best book discoveries have come from googling Year 6 and Year 7 reading lists - lots of schools publish recommended reading lists by year, though I tended to focus on the schools that we have applied to at 11+. Some of them categorise by genre as well, which is helpful!

MrsSteptoe · 30/01/2014 10:48

Sorry, I realise I've slightly veered away from the "reading to him" request in your post. I'd still suggest Animal Farm, though!

BCBG · 30/01/2014 10:50

I may be wide of the mark here, but I'm wondering if he is feeling a little too old to be read to, but is uncomfortable about letting you know.

ZeroSomeGameThingy · 30/01/2014 10:56

Grin I adore critiquing school reading lists...

It's strange MrsS - I hear lots of people saying they hate reading with children - but it's one of the joys of my life. It does get harder to pin the Dc down as they get older - but once we start it's wonderful.

OP Emil And The Detectives has recently been grudgingly praised as "much better than I expected..." by a child of that age.

Blackcathaireverywhere · 30/01/2014 10:57

Thanks for your answers. We tried the Hobbit but he didn't like it (nor did I, to be honest). He's read Goodnight Mr Tom and Animal Farm (liked both).

The Graveyard Book and Pig Heart Boy both look promising. I had already downloaded the 39 Steps actually but had forgotten about that.

BCBG - you could be on to something there! He often wants to just get on with his own book and that does happen more and more often. I do still think he gets a lot out of reading out loud to us and us reading to him though as it stops him just skipping over words he doesn't know. The school encourage reading out loud to parents.

Do others still read to 11 year olds? (he's yr 6, so still at primary)

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MrsSteptoe · 30/01/2014 11:01

FWIW, I think DS would love it if I read to him. But - it's worth considering that he only wants it because I don't. It may well be that if I started, he'd want to get away and read alone once the novelty had worn off.

Seeline · 30/01/2014 11:02

We still 'share' his own reading book - not every night but sometimes he will ask if we will read a bit of it to him. DS is 12 now! I think it's if he is getting a bit bored with a book - we help push it along a bit for him! LAtest hit with him was the first Charlie Higson zombie book! He has already enjoyed his Young James Bond books - have you tries them?

ErrolTheDragon · 30/01/2014 11:03

I'm still reading to my 15 yo DD - on nights when she's in bed early enough! We're working through the Discworld books, with occasional deviations into HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy. Trying to remember what she liked me to read at 11 (she has gender-neutral tastes, liked me to read the Alex Riders but she's read all the Cherub/Henderson boy books in the last few years). I read her lots of 'classics' when she was younger, including all the Swallows and Amazons. Some of the others were maybe a bit girl-orientated but Tom Sawyer could be a good one. Also all the 'childrens' Terry Pratchetts.

Blackcathaireverywhere · 30/01/2014 11:06

Lol, perhaps I should pretend I don't fancy reading to him any more and then he might want to more often!

He's got the Young Bond books on his own 'to read' pile...again I think of those as 'reading to yourself' books.

Emil and the Detectives added to my list!

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Blackcathaireverywhere · 30/01/2014 11:08

Reading a Mark Twain has been on my own list for a while, maybe we should give that a go together. I think he's quite put off by old fashioned language though...which I assume that will have.

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MrsSteptoe · 30/01/2014 11:11

If I were to read a book to DS (who is 10, btw), it would probably be White's Sword in the Stone. I've not read it myself, but I'm told that although the antiquated language is tiresome for a child, once you get into it, it's up and running, IYSWIM.

frugalfuzzpig · 30/01/2014 11:14

Ah I think it's lovely. I hope my DCs still want me to at that age! :)

Not sure if these are any good:
Redwall (Brian Jacques)
Howl's Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones)
Machine Gunners (Robert Westall)

ZeroSomeGameThingy · 30/01/2014 11:22

Apologies for hogging your thread - but I don't think of it as reading "to".... It's more just "sharing a book". We may read alternate chapters aloud and then he goes off and continues alone for a while - then we read aloud again.

And it's very rarely at bedtime; more of a lazy afternoon thing, sometimes with three generations of readers. (Not pretending this always happens easily...)

I feel very strongly that it's a very necessary way of keeping track of comprehension and understanding of context. It usually involves long discursions into the significance of a phrase or the difference in culture of a previous era.

It's also a way of encouraging a child to step outside the "teen reading" net. For instance, who would have guessed that a nine year old boy would be entranced by Josephine Tey? (Picked by him from bookshelves purely out of curiosity.)

Blackcathaireverywhere · 30/01/2014 11:38

Oh I like the look of Howl's Moving Castle, thanks! (he probably won't in that case)

Zero - no need to apologise, it is interesting. I do think of it as 'sharing a book' too. I love the idea of us all sharing a book (I have an 8 year old too). But that doesn't really seem to happen. Perhaps we could give that a go and leave DS1 to read on his own at bedtime. I don't like the idea of just reading a bit of a book with him and then him carrying on on his own though (selfishly, I don't like leaving bits out).

I agree with your comments about comprehension too.

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bunnybing · 30/01/2014 11:40

Good to hear you are still reading to your 11yo and 15 yo Errol - we do and I was wondering how unusual it is. (I say we read, more often DH tbh). Can't remember my parents ever reading to me - presumably they did when I was a toddler but who knows?

Mine like the Pegasus books which I'd say are fairly gender-neutral.

Seeline · 30/01/2014 11:44

selfishly, I don't like leaving bits out

I ended up reading all the Harry Potters to myself in the end!! Some nights I would read with DS, others DH would, and then DS would carry on on his own - I hadn't a clue what was going on Grin Too curious just to leave it there and ended up thoroughly enjoying them all!

jeee · 30/01/2014 11:56

When I was in year 6 we had "The Silver Sword" read to us. The whole class looked forward to the next installment, and if we didn't really have time we'd beg to be allowed to stay late. The teacher often indulged us.... I guess he must have enjoyed reading the book, too.

I read it to my own children, who loved it. I did struggle not to cry at times, though.

booksteensandmagazines · 30/01/2014 11:58

Some suggestions for 11+ year olds with a mix of action adventure:

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
Bodyguard:hostage by Chris Bradford
Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace

They are different in terms of reading levels - I'd put Bodyguard as the easiest read and Noughts and Crosses as the harder read (it's also got a tougher content so you need to check you are happy with that)

frugalfuzzpig · 30/01/2014 12:01

I remember alternating chapters of Blackhearts in Battersea with my mum.

DH and I used to read to each other too, before having DCs. We did most of the Harry Potters that way among others.

iwanttohideunderarock · 30/01/2014 12:25

I still read to my 11 year old (year 6), he finds it hard to sit still and anyway is too big to snuggle up and be read to in bed. So he sits at his desk and draws while I read. I find it is such a relaxed & calming way to end the day and often he asks me something about what we are reading and we veer off into just general chat. I work full time and am a single mum, so it really feels like an important part of our day, and I miss it when his or my commitments mean we can't.

we are currently reading Emil & the Three Twins, having read Emil & the Detectives and loved it (i was rather surprised!) and then loved it even more when we went to see the play.

We galloped through The Silver Sword & Goodnight Mr Tom, a Hero on a Bicycle was an all time favourite. Most Michael Morpurgo books hit the mark. I thought Treasure Island was a good one to read to him as the language is quite archaic, but it was quite hard work even for me ! Silver Fin & the Young Bond books are good, anything by Louis Sachar or Morris Gleitzman or Eva Ibboston.

MrsSteptoe · 30/01/2014 12:58

I came unexpectedly unstuck on Treasure Island on the children's literature module I did with OU. Harder work than you think. And definitely needs a glossary! I enjoyed it eventually, but I had to listen to it as a talking book a couple of times to get into it.

Takver · 30/01/2014 22:13

We've just started The Three Musketeers which is great fun to read out loud - it is wildly wordy, but in a good way, IYKWIM and loads of possibilities for dramatic declamation. (I have a yr 7 11 going on 12 y/o). It does challenge my French pronunciation, though . . .

I was thinking that some Georgette Heyer might be good too (maybe the Grand Sophy) but possibly less appealing to an 11 y/o boy Grin

Blackcathaireverywhere · 31/01/2014 12:49

Thank you for the latest comments that I didn't get around to responding to.

I read Treasure Island a year or so ago and I agree, quite difficult!

I did a bit of an Amazon order, Kindle download last night, so we've got a nice little collection of choices now. I'm quite excited! Thanks for all your comments and suggestions.

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Jasmine33 · 25/02/2014 14:33

This suggestion may seem off the wall a bit but it's a true story about a kid who had cancer and it's about his treatment and how he recovered. It's called The Amazing Cancer Kid. The boy in the story is now 12 years old. The book does contain some gruesome details but it is illustrated in a way designed to appeal to kids that age and a bit older.

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