Raising Readers Message Board

TalkFor Parents: Raising Readers

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Raising Readers Message Board

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Jul 26, 2006, 10:16am

OK, let me start this one off. One of the biggest challenges I face is finding reading material for my pre-teen - she reads a book a day, sometimes more, and has an enormous preference for fantasy books with strong heroines. I try to both feed her habit and broaden her horizon. Any thoughts?

Jul 26, 2006, 5:35pm

My ultimate recommendation for this group is Parents who love reading by Mary Leonhardt or anything else she has written. The recommendations for hooking young readers may occasionally be dated, but her throughts on how to turn kids into avid readers are really good.

Jul 28, 2006, 3:55am

Babies Need Books and Five To Eight are my recommendations - Dorothy Butler is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable writer on the subject.

Jul 28, 2006, 12:47pm

I'm interested in getting recommendations for my nine-month-old daughter. She already loves books, so there is no worry there, but I hardly know where to begin in the children's section at our local bookstore. There is so much to choose from and it can be hard (or at least time-consuming and frustrating) to find high-quality books for her. Her favorites right now are Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See, My Friends, and Swimmy. I'm especially interested in hearing about more picture books that are about the same reading level as Swimmy.

Jul 28, 2006, 1:51pm

I don't know Swimmy, but I know Brown Bear Brown Bear. Our experience (our kids our past this stage now) was that board books now are not just for reading, but for visual stimulation, chewing, and what have you as well - so when one kid took to trucks, we got him trucks. They all loved to hear a lot of rhyming and word play, and anything noisy or animated got a lot of reaction.

Some of our most successful ones were photo books, with lots of pictures of children doing things. The kids all took a real liking to those, and engaged with them pretty quickly. Books that repeated letter sounds alot, like Zoe and her Zebra or One Fish Two Fish or Dr. Seuss's ABC were great. Quacky quack-quack, Jamberry, and Chicka-chicka-boom-boom are animated, noisy books that were hits. And Eric Carle, of course, with all those sensory little things, was big.

Jul 28, 2006, 2:45pm

By the way, the Eric Carle book that held the most interest for our kids - The Very Quiet Cricket - we wore out about four or five books among our three kids.

Jul 29, 2006, 6:30am

The Dorothy Butler bokshop here in Auckland is lovely to visit, very children friendly.

Jul 30, 2006, 11:59pm

Wohooo! Finally I can post a message. I've been trying since last night. Anyway I have 3 kids (10, 4 and 2) and I read to each of them every night. We own many books but I'm always looking for new book recommendations particularly for my 10 year son.
A-Musing has your daughter read the Artemis Fowl books? My son just started reading them and he's really enjoying them. Another suggestion is Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson -- it's possibly a little young for her -- not sure exactly what age pre teen covers--- but anyway it's billed as a Prequel to Peter Pan and it's basically a rip roaring pirate adventure with a strong, female main character.

9letthedaysgoby First Message
Jul 31, 2006, 9:16am

A_musing, your daughter sounds just like me when I was that age!

Most of these recommendations she'll probably already have read, since they're not exactly rare, but just in case I thought I'd share them.

Books that already fit her mold:

Tamora Pierce - Her Tortall books. There are three quartets and one set of two, all featuring strong female heriones. I'd start with the Alanna books. Her Circle of Magic books are also decent, but more geared towards younger readers.

Robin McKinley - The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword. These were my favorite books for YEARS and still hold a special place in my heart.

Mercedes Lackey - While I think the quality of these aren’t wonderful, especially as you get older, I devoured the Arrows of the Queen series when I was that age.

Patricia C. Wrede - The Enchanted Forest Chronicles.

Garth Nix - Sabriel and subsequent novels.

Philip Pullman - The Golden Compass. This one my father read to me when I was that age, but I knew friends my age who were reading it at the same time, so I don't think it should be too hard.

Sherwood Smith - Crown Duel and Court Duel, the Wren books.

Edith Pattou - East and Fire Arrow

Charles De Lint - The Blue Girl

Dianna Wynne Jones – Anything by her. They’re not so female heroine centered as the other books I mentioned, but the stories are some of the best out there.

Now, when I was that age, it was almost impossible to get me to read anything but fantasy, but some books that didn’t fall into that category that I somehow managed to enjoy:

Sharon Creech – Absolutely Normal Chaos and Chasing Redbird. Even though Walk Two Moons is more critically acclaimed and I appreciate it now, at that time it just didn’t catch my interest.

Jane Yolen/Bruce Coville – Armageddon Summer

Madeleine L’Engle – A Ring of Endless Light

There are probably more, but this list is far too long already.

Jul 31, 2006, 3:42pm

This is great! Thanks to the last posters, who have given me a bunch of ideas. The Peter and the Starcatchers sounds great, as does the Ring of Endless Light (haven't read that L'Engle), Sabriel, The Blue Girl, and Fire Arrow. Tamora Pierce is the touchstone for us -- when my daughter is out of books, she just rereads one of Pierce's books (yet again).

By the way, this was a girl who really struggled with learning how to read - Orton-Gillingham tutoring one-on-one is what ultimately played the biggest part in getting her over reading difficulties.

Jul 31, 2006, 3:57pm

AMusing if your daughter likes Peter and the StarCatchers there is a follow-up. It is called Peter and the Shadow Thieves. I have just bought it for my son but we haven't read it yet as he's still reading the Artemis Fowl books.
Ridley Pearson has also written a book by himself called The Kingdom Keepers which is a fantasy/thriller set in the Magic Kingdom. I haven't read it myself but my son really enjoyed it.

Jul 31, 2006, 4:11pm

Thanks - by the way, one idea for your 10 year old that is a bit off-beat are old epics (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Gilgamesh, for example). They're really pretty accessible and feature a lot of "action." With Gilgamesh, we read it out loud in the car, with my 9 year alternating with some of the reading; I did need skip over a couple of passages I found a touch racy, but it was a big hit.

Aug 1, 2006, 12:50pm

Oh thankyou we will have to check that out. He hasn't really read any Knights or King Arthur books but I suspect he would probably really like them.

Sep 21, 2006, 4:58pm

A suggestion for everydayautumn is Pat the Bunny both of my children (now ages 15 and 6) loved this book. It is very interactive.

For A_Musing I would suggest Shug by Jenny Han. Although it is not a fantasy it does have a strong central female character. It is a coming of age sort of story about a girl going into middle school.

Sep 21, 2006, 8:00pm

A_musing, for fantasy my 10-year-old daughter recommends The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine and The White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge.

For non-fantasy, she recommends Theatre Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild, Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell, and Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech.

She'd be interested in recommendations in return.

Oct 29, 2006, 11:27am

Oh, my, I never responded to cabegley above! The list by letthedaysgoby above includes lots of my daughter's favorites, along with the Eragon books. I'll get some additional thoughts from her on some of the less well-known one's she has been reading as well. She also enjoyed The White Horse, but I don't think she's read The Two Princesses of Bamarre.

I also have a 9 year old daughter, and both of them have consumed all of the Droon books at about the age of 9 - and one thing I like about them is that they are the sort of evening reading where we can read a chapter and then let our 9 year old read a chapter. Not sure if your 10 year old will be past them yet or not.

Nov 7, 2006, 10:30pm

Hi, I just joined the group. My kids are getting into chapter books now, so I'm having fun buying all sorts of classic books that I hope they will enjoy in the next several years. Authors like Roald Dahl, E.B. White, C.S. Lewis, and Laura Ingalls Wilder . We're borrowing loads from the library too.

Dovegreyreader, a fellow LibraryThing collector and literary blogwriter, recently posted about a website that recommends very good books for kids. It's a series of lists by Amanda Craig who is an author and also Children's Literature critic for the Times.
See www.amandacraig.com/childrens.htm Her lists are sorted by age, and she has articles on categories like children's poetry, fairy tales and so on. I think I'll be referring to this site a lot as we make our Christmas shopping lists.

Nov 8, 2006, 9:02am

I picked up three books for my 15 year old in the teen section of my local book store for his book Christmas gift this year.

They might be a little young for him but considering what he's reading in school I think he needs a break with something fun to remind him he really does like to read. They also had big "local author" stickers on them which helped make the decision for me.

The books are Dragon's Blood, Heart's Blood and Sending of Dragons by Jane Yolen. The description on the books kind of reminded me of Eragon which is one of his favorite books. I hope he likes them!

Nov 13, 2006, 2:48am

Wow, I had not realized Jane Yolen is so prolific. My 6 year olds have been enjoying her Commander Toad series, including Commander Toad in Space and Commander Toad and the Dis-asteroid and Commander Toad and the Space Pirates. They are early readers, and include a lot of Star Wars and other space SF jokes.

It's good to know there are so many other good fantasy books for our kids to read as they grow up.

We are about to read Jacob Two-Two meets the Hooded Fang by Mordecai Richler - a hilarious Canadian classic, fun as a read-aloud or for 7 to 8 year olds to read on their own.

Edited: Oct 28, 2012, 4:43am

I really ought to get one with starting my second kid reading. Only trouble is, can't remember how I did it the first time around! I suppose I really need a series with stories that are easy to sound out. I know my mum got me reading with the Ladybird Peter and Jane series (starting with Play With Us), and I used it for my eldest, too; but I'm not sure we're quite up to that, just yet.

Any recommendations?

Oct 29, 2012, 2:28pm

>20 humouress: humoruress, what age/reading levels are you looking for. I have 2 boys - 7 and 10 years old - who started out as reluctant readers, but are now just devouring books. I have suggestions for anything from beginning readers through beginning chapter books all the way up to young adult fiction. My 2 nieces who are 12 and nearly 14 also love to read, so I have both sexes covered as well!! Just give me an age range and I have some suggestions.

Edited: Oct 31, 2012, 8:53am

>21 rretzler:: Absolute beginner. He's 3, so I'm looking for words and very simple stories that are easy for him to sound out. Thanks!

Edited: Oct 31, 2012, 2:08pm

>22 humouress:: Have you tried the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems? He is the author of the Pigeon series and the Knuffle Bunny series which are great read-aloud board picture books. In the Elephant and Piggie series, Gerald and Piggie are two friends that are really cute, and find themselves in funny situations. They were not out for my oldest, but were just coming out about the time my youngest was 2 or 3. He just loved them. Even though they are easy readers, they have a funny story and I found the characters very endearing and enjoyed the books myself!

Another series of books which he thought were funny, and are very, very basic are the Bob books series. They are in sets (beginning, advancing, etc) and each book introduces a new concept, e.g. long o sound, long e sound etc. The drawings are very entertaining for young children even though there really is not a story line. In the beginning books, its more along the lines of "Pat sat on cat" or that type of thing with a funny picture of a triangle-headed person sitting on a cat.

A series along the lines of Elephant and Piggie but perhaps a little more advanced is Fly Guy by Ted Arnold, who is the author of Parts, another cute read-aloud. Fly Guy has words in it like 'airplane' and 'meanwhile' and 'motorboat' which would definitely be difficult for a true beginner, but the book would probably be good for an advanced beginner.

We also enjoyed the I Can Read it All by Myself Beginner Books with authors such as Dr. Seuss and P. D. Eastman which you probably are familiar with. I learned to read from those books back in the mid-60's and my children also enjoyed them.

My last suggestion would be the I'm Going to Read series with titles like The Prince Has a Boo-Boo! and The Prince's Tooth is Loose. Again, these might be a little much for a new beginner, but they are a fairly easy read, and have a cute story.

Our elementary school also had some very easy readers - something like Sunshine Readers - which both my boys read in Kindergarten, but they had absolutely no interest in them. It was very difficult to get them to sit down and read because they did not like the stories that they were reading. Even though they are both gifted, it took both until 2nd grade before they "loved' books enough that they would sit and read on their own out of choice. It's so hard to find interesting books for the beginning reader, but the series that I mentioned were some of the ones that we were the most successful with at that younger age. They both started reading at 3, but it was like pulling teeth until they were about 7!!

Hope you can find something that you will both enjoy from the above!

Nov 1, 2012, 2:03pm

Thanks, Robin. I'll have a look out for those. Much appreciated.

Nov 16, 2012, 9:02am

Oh wow last time I posted in this thread my kids were 10, 4, and 2 and now they're 16, 11, and 9!
Humouress, I'm going to assume that you're British so I say look for the Hairy Mclary books by Lynley Dodd. They're not beginning readers, they're picture books, but they have great rhyme and rhythm which will make him want to join in and lots of repetition. Also Kipper and Wibbly Pig books by Mick Inkpen. There are a number of those that just have one or two words per page. I'll try and think what other books my kids loved at that age and post some more suggestions later.