Are there any levelled reading books especially for advanced readers?

(28 Posts)
Tinkerfell Mon 03-Dec-12 06:16:38

Exactly that really. DD is 6 and on level 16. she is struggling with comprehension as she has no frame of reference for half of what they are talking about. School will not allow her not to read levelled books hmm. does anyone know if there is a series of books written especially for young advanced readers? TIA grin

SingAnOctaveHigher Wed 02-Jan-13 15:15:46

I second kistigger's view of letting children choose their own reading material - it's so true that even a very advanced reader can sometimes spend weeks or months reading stuff which is way too "young" for them, or which is just plain drivel. Our local independent bookshop has been amazingly helpful at suggesting books - my DS2 prefers reading series, so it has often ended up with buying the first couple and getting the rest from the library. Parents of slightly older children were also a very useful resource and we've borrowed a couple of entire series that way.

The Beast Quest books were very helpful to us when there was a mismatch between DS2's comprehension and reading ability (the stories are IMO utter drivel once you've read the first set of six, but he loved them and only gave up at about book 42). Horrid Henry was also a great favourite at the age you mention, also the Roald Dahl books. I have a feeling that DS also read the first couple of Harry Potter books at age 6, although I think they were really too hard for him and it was more a case of dogged determination.

As for the question of "adult" content (which the op didn't really ask about) I think there are just two types of parents, one who feel it's important to know that their kids are able to deal with stuff before they read about it in a fictional setting, and the other type who thinks that the written word probably can't do much harm, especially when you think about all the other forms of crap that children are exposed to, and the benefits of developing a reading habit.

pointysettia Mon 24-Dec-12 21:11:03

I'd second the classics - there are a lot of books out there suitable for an advanced 6yo reader. My DDs were very like yours, OP - they read the Hiccup Horrendous Haddock series, the Septimus Heap series and some of the simpler Diana Wynne Jones.

School put DD2 back on ORT this year (she's in Yr 5 now, school was having to prove the point to OFSTED) and she was not impressed, but she ploughed on through and kept on reading for pleasure and the school have now given her Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, with the promise of more similar reading to follow. (not something I'd recommend for a 6yo though, DD2 is almost 10)

seeker Sat 15-Dec-12 08:04:45

Why on earth would a 6 year old not know what stealing is?

And do not let a 6 year old read The Hunger Games. Just because they can doesn't mean they should.

Parasaurolophus Sat 15-Dec-12 07:57:09

My six year old loves the Magic Treehouse books. We got some in America a few months ago, and it seems they are on Amazon.co.uk now.

They don't challenge him, but they interest him and keep him reading. He takes them to school for reading time.

Pythonesque Wed 12-Dec-12 23:23:36

I'd second looking through older children's "classics" and the like - there seems to be a lot of fairly rubbish stuff aimed at children nowadays sad My son devoured Roald Dahl from age 5-6 (although I'm getting tired of him still constantly rereading it now he can quote large sections lol). He got a copy of both volumes of the autobiography either for his 6th birthday or a few months after at Christmas, and to my surprise happily dipped in and out of the second which I would have thought would have been too grown up for him.

I'd also say, don't forget non-fiction, again libraries are good for this (consider school library as well as local)

kistigger Mon 10-Dec-12 12:52:22

If your child is reading level 16, then that is about as High as ORT go. They do have up to this level on the Oxford Owl website. Sometimes they have comprehension questions to go with them, I think. blackeyedsusan suggested ORT all stars - they are actually not that great. They are aimed at children reading about 1-2 years above the average expected for their age (in KS1), so I think they are around the levels 8-11 sort of thing. Although they have a better story line than much of the other ORT stuff, they didn't have enough of a plot to interest DD. If your school refuses to let you access the reading scheme, I wouldn't say that's necessarily a bag thing, kids can become so reliant on it that they don't know how to read anything else!! We've had big issues with DD's school on that front, they kept giving her picture books when she needed to start learning stamina and see that not all books have colour pictures etc!

I let my DD (age 6) choose her own books as much as possible. Sometimes it is stuff that is clearly far too young, but it's good for helping increase her reading speed. I will order things (from the library) other people recommend and encourage her to read the back and try a few pages before she sends it back. She's very picky. Normally though after the first chapter they realize it's not what they thought it was going to be like and it's actually quite good. I try to do comprehension with whatever she is reading (which she usually does to herself in her head). So I'll ask her what the book was about, why she liked it, what the best bit was etc. Or I ask her how the characters felt. Or I get her to stop somewhere and make suggestions of what could happen next - she hates that cos she doesn't like to get it wrong - but it's all good practice. I will spot check her on words both for how to pronounce them and their meaning. Don't forget non-fiction and poetry make for good discussion points too!! Especially if you can get them thinking about how they would feel in the situation or what they may have done differently or why something did or didn't work etc.

madwomanintheattic Wed 05-Dec-12 17:08:50

Dd1 read them at 11, sorry. Dd2 is 9. Gah.

madwomanintheattic Wed 05-Dec-12 17:08:06

Yes, I have, and dd2 read them at 11 (it was also used as the theme for a guiding event this winter, which is what has sparked dd2's interest).

I think the only difference is the 'potential reality' aspect, to something that is obviously fantasy (they have been exposed to plenty of monsters gushing blood, fear and whatnot with the Percy Jackson series and other rick riordan stuff). I don't think she'd get as far as 2 and 3, I think she'll start the Hunger Games and make her mind up whether she's going to finish it. She may choose not to.

It does raise interesting questions about human nature, for sure. (both dh and i are ex-military and I've done a fair amount of research into that side of the house - not that dd2 is even aware of that). Dd2 started writing books (she wants to get her first published next year, lol, and school are helping her out with it) and is determined to be an author, so likes to explore what's out there. (And the fact that dd1 read it before is an obvious lead for her). I think she's too young to pick up on a lot of it, and will probably reread it (if she gets through it this time) in a few years and understand a lot more (and give her lots more to think about).

She isn't in any hurry. She just mentioned it a few times and will probably pick it up in the next month or so. I'm not influencing her either way. Do I feel it's appropriate for all 9yos, definitely not. Not sure it's appropriate for her, but goodness only knows I read a whole host of desperately inappropriate stuff as a kid. By 10 the librarian was bringing me stuff from the adult shelves as they'd run out of everything else. grin (not advocating this at all!!)

I hadn't even thought about it until this thread, tbh. When it was mentioned, it just reminded me that it was on her 'next read' list. She finds books easier to cope with - films horrify her. grin

3b1g Wed 05-Dec-12 16:30:27

MWITA: have you read them? The first two and a half books were what I would expect from YA dystopian fiction, but the last third or so of Mockingjay left me a little taken aback and I am nearly forty and not completely innocent of the atrocities people will commit in war-time. It's a completely different sort of read, and really quite depressing.

madwomanintheattic Wed 05-Dec-12 15:37:24

Right, but my 9 year old has decided she's going to read the Hunger Games next. grin. It's all about the individual child, and their maturity etc. (I would prefer she wait another year, but like her big sis, she's very sensible, and quite often starts a book, then decides 'not yet' and puts it back on the shelf for a few years.

Dd1 did this at 6 with the first six Harry Potter books. She read them happily, then picked up Book 7, started it, got a few chapters in, and decided it was too grown up, so put it back on the shelf. She decided to read it around 9, I think.

Certainly since then, she has reread an awful lot of books, and I assume got rather more out of them than her comprehension allowed the first time round at six. grin however, she still read them and enjoyed them at the time.

All of mine were free readers by this point in year 1, to be honest. I was frustrated by the lack of age appropriate material for competent readers, but I have to say it's a non-problem, really. I solved it by allocating half an hour in the library and letting them come home with reams. Half of the books they read, half they didn't as they weren't what they expected / ended up not being appropriate in terms of ability, rather than content - too easy, or whatever. All of the suggestions above are great, and will be gathering dust at the library.

At six I would definitely steer of the newer young adult stuff (Hunger Games, Twilight bolleaux) but would also caution against becoming too ensconced in the nightmare that is the pink shelfery in the children's section in book stores. Libraries are pretty good about this, but I've seen book shops with v clearly delineated sections. There's only so many books on babysitting and middle school that you can read without your head exploding, once you have escaped the fairies and magic kittens.

I assume at six she's read all of the current little kids books - Cressida Cowell, etc.

Tbh, I've pretty much ignored what mine read past reception. It doesn't seem to have done them any harm! grin

With my pfb, I did have a brief issue when she was 7, as they were giving her some of the much older Jacqueline Wilson's. They did adjust their policy, but tbh, in hindsight, I probably wouldn't have bothered if she hasn't been my first. No one wants a kid to have to deal with abused women, homelessness, truancy and whatnot at six or seven, but in reality, lots do. Better they broaden their horizons through the written word and not experience?

3b1g Wed 05-Dec-12 15:15:31

I wasn't trying to suggest that the OP's 6 y old should read The Hunger Games! I was giving an example to illustrate my opinion that sometimes the content of a book can differ in age suitability from the reading age / level of that book, and also explaining that the 'children should read about things outside their experience' argument has limits.

greenhill Wed 05-Dec-12 14:46:59

My 5 yo DD is enjoying reading Roald Dahl, Dick King-Smith, Enid Blyton, the original Thomas the Tank stories, also Wind in the Willows, Black Beauty, The Railway Children, The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland in slightly abridged versions (until I can re-read the originals for content).

She read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last Saturday morning and has been repeating some rather grim jokes from it. She enjoyed the Johnny Depp version of Willy Wonka but found the Gene Wilder film less interesting. She loves the Judy Garland Wizard of Oz DVD and we are now looking for an unillustrated copy of the book.

As lljkk says, go with what your child is interested in. My DD also loves reading flower fairy / pirate adventure stories and is always happy to read to her 2 yo old brother; she is not concerned if the book is about Bob the Builder or In the Night Garden. Thanks for the tip about Calvin and Hobbes, I've got some of those somewhere, I'll enjoy reading about Spaceman Spiff again before I pass them on to DD grin

lljkk Wed 05-Dec-12 14:28:24

Don't think anyone has suggested Hunger Games to OP?!
Or Darren Shan, or Jacqueline Wilson, or the Z-Raptor books (if you want to talk other unsuitable). Or even Captain Underpants.

Personally I'd be happy with my 4-6yo DC plowing thru entire series of Rainbow Fairies & Magic Kitten books & similar, even if they did have advanced reading skills enough to tackle The Hobbit (etc). It's about the love of reading, no particular need to keep accelerating with technical proficiency. That's why I always recommend Calvin & Hobbes on these threads.

mummytime Wed 05-Dec-12 14:20:44

The Hunger Games is a Young Adult book, not a children's book. If I saw it in the Children's section of a book shop I would complain. I don't approve of some of the books that some parents at DCs primary allow them to read (eg. The boy in the Striped Pajamas).
If she is struggling with comprehension I would wonder if she was reading books too hard for her. Comprehension and reading should go along side by side.

When my middle DC was having some issues, we did read an American series called "Meg Macintosh" where you try to solve mysteries along with Meg Macintosh, this helped her read carefully and ensure she understood what she had read.

cory Wed 05-Dec-12 14:02:21

Of course I agree with that, 3b1g. Many modern books are very simple in structure and language but have quite advanced contents. Which makes classics a good bet.

blackeyedsusan Tue 04-Dec-12 23:03:33

ort do all stars that are for younger children/better readers.

I have never seen any at all though and they are probably less than level 16.

3b1g Tue 04-Dec-12 09:40:15

There are some subjects that I wouldn't want my child to be reading about at a v.young age. As an example, when DS2 was 9, his reading age was 14. He borrowed a book from the library which was about a girl with an eating disorder who was self-harming. The last Hunger Games novel, Mockingjay, features suicidal ideation with the character considering different methods of killing herself. The content of some children's books is not what I would consider appropriate for all ages.

cory Tue 04-Dec-12 08:54:09

"when your school book is talking about someone stealing and you have no frame of reference for that (and hopefully never will have!!!) it becomes a bit difficult."

Do you mean a 6yo does not know what the word "stealing" means? I'd say that is a little unusual, particularly in a bright child. Anyway, why can't you just explain it? Or do you mean that you literally want her sheltered (and for how long?) from the idea that some people take things that don't belong to them? Is that a good idea? Surely it's the sort of thing she might come across at school?

As I remember myself that age- and dd at that age too- we got a lot of our frame of reference from books, before we encountered things in real life; it was a safe way of learning about life. You work out from the context what things mean, or ask an adult, or use a child's dictionary.

tbh that's what books (and newspapers) have done to me throughout life. If I'd had to sit down and wait for a real life reference for anything I read, I still wouldn't have got to the Agatha Christies.

exoticfruits Tue 04-Dec-12 07:31:42

The best thing that you can do for any DC is get them a library ticket and go at least once a week.

3b1g Tue 04-Dec-12 07:12:30

DS1's was a gift from grandparents, but on the back it says it's from www.thatcompanycalledif.com

simpson Mon 03-Dec-12 22:36:39

Have you looked at the Oxford owl website (not sure what level it goes up to though

Also maybe check out the treetops books (not sure what stage they go up to either - they may have some on Oxford owl). The treetops books seem easier for younger kids to understand who are ahead in reading iyswim.

Tinkerfell Mon 03-Dec-12 22:33:01

Thank you all, you've been really helpful. I really don't care what she reads, I just know her and if she has to continue reading the drivel school are giving out she's going to go off reading for life and that would be heartbreaking. 3b1g where can I get an electronic bookmark - love th sound of that but never seen one shock. Cory, fully with you in the getting things wrong thing - it's a conversation we've had many times, but when your school book is talking about someone stealing and you have no frame of reference for that (and hopefully never will have!!!) it becomes a bit difficult. We have been reading Roald Dahl books together recently (still likes to be read to at bedtime) so I think I'll let her take over, and then talk about it in the morning grin

3b1g Mon 03-Dec-12 08:41:10

When she's a bit older you could buy her an electronic dictionary bookmark so that she can look up any unfamiliar words as she reads. DS1 has just managed to read Mr Midshipman Hornblower with the aid of one of these.

cory Mon 03-Dec-12 08:33:40

I second the classics. You can always talk to her about what she is reading and aid comprehension that way. I also think it is good for gifted children to learn that they don't have to understand absolutely everything they read; they are allowed to use their imagination and even to get things wrong occasionally.

lljkk Mon 03-Dec-12 07:52:41

Enid Blyton & Arthur Ransome, too.
I read loads of Nancy Drew at that age. EB White, E Nesbitt.
Not everything they read has to stretch them, just as long as they keep their love of reading & language. Calvin & Hobbes has some terrific vocabulary in it.
Laura Ingalls Wilder. Pollyanna, Anne of Green Gables, Pippi Longstocking, the Secret Garden.

Maybe Heidi & the original The Jungle Book (check for suitability). Just So Kipling stories.

odds are you can get lots of those thru public libraries.

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