Archive for November, 2012

Would you like to give your child help with their reading?

November 30, 2012

As regular readers of this blog will know, my main aim in all the teaching I do, is to get children reading well. Literacy underpins everything your child does at school – from being able to read the questions on a maths paper to being able to read a story in order to answers the questions about it. Reading is even supposed to make people happier!

Children who struggle to keep up with their peers will often be found reading books during quiet reading sessions that are far too difficult for them (and from which they derive no benefit). As a result,  problems with reading can become a vicious circle.

I recently started working with children on a brilliant programme which helps children to become better readers. It is called “Toe-by-Toe” and has been developed over a period of 25 years (with rigorous testing to see what works and what doesn’t) for children (and adults) who struggle to read. It is especially useful for dyslexia sufferers, but works for anyone who just wants to improve their reading.The programme is administered in the form of a workbook and can be tutored by anyone who can read eg parents/teachers/a friend. It does need commitment, though, 20-30 minutes a day for around 6 months to a year, but the results are truly phenomenal in most cases.41XFA9YHEDL__SL500_AA300_

I have trialled this with  several children in the last few months, all of whom are making great progress- one has increased his reading age in just 9 weeks by 6 months. Not only that, but his confidence has gone up in leaps and bounds. His class teacher says he is generally more confident, even in maths. The “I really can do it” feeling that this gives children who may have struggled for years, can make a huge difference to their self esteem.

“Toe-by-Toe is definitely not a programme to be dipped in and out of. It needs firm daily commitment and you need to follow the teaching instructions on each page carefully. But if you would like to help your child with reading and are prepared to spend 20 minutes a day doing so, you should see some excellent results. Follow this link to buy  Toe by Toe and to read reviews by people who have used it. Amazon has no fewer than 90 reviews at an average of 5*s!


Pirate books for 6, 7 and 8 year olds

November 19, 2012

One of our customers recently asked me about books with pirates in, for  6 year olds. It seems that there are a lot of very popular books about pirates aimed at the under 5s, but relatively few for older children.

Pirate books for 6-8 year oldsHowever if you’re looking for something with a fairly easy reading level that they can read for themselves try “Stories of Pirates” from  Usborne Young Reading (Series 1). It is at Emerald reading level, and if you click on the following link you can look inside the book – “Stories of Pirates” (and if you do decide to buy at Amazon, we get a small percentage of the profit which enables us to keep Hummingbird Books going). One of the lovely things about the Usborne books is the beautiful colour pictures – pictures seem to be very important to children just getting going with “Read Alone” books.

Another lovely series for new readers, also at Emerald level, is the Corgi Pups, and in particular the book Yo Ho Ho. Although out of print now, you can still pick up new and used copies at Amazon. Great fun story all about Mr Cutlass, class 3’s new teacher who wears a spotted handkerchief and has a parrot on his shoulder! Pirate Books for 6-8 year olds

Books to buy your 9-11 year old for Christmas

November 9, 2012

Books for 9-11 year olds

More and more of the 9-11 year olds that I teach are telling me how amazing the David Walliams books are. Even reluctant readers are reading them (through choice, not because anyone said they had to!). If you have a son or daughter who doesn’t really like reading, try reading one of these brilliant books to them and they’ll soon be hooked! Of course, they won’t choose to read it unless their reading is good enough to manage it easily, so check out whether they can manage the text without help, by having a “Look Inside” Gangsta Granny.

Books for 9-11 year olds     There are 5 books in total including “Billionaire Boy”, “The Boy in the Dress”, “Mr Stink” and the latest, “Ratburger”. David Walliams is being described as the “next Roald Dahl”, so don’t let your children miss out on this amazing new author. All the books are at Amethyst Reading Level.

Buy “Ratburger” now.

Buy “Gangsta Granny” now.

Buy”Mr Stink” now.

Buy “The Boy in the Dress” now.

Buy “Billionaire Boy” now.

Books to buy your 7 and 8 year old keen reader for Christmas

November 9, 2012

Christmas holidays are the perfect time to encourage your keen reader- if the weather isn’t great and you’ve got lots of jobs to do at home, give them a good book and enjoy the peace and quiet!

To help you find books at the right reading level for your child, we have assigned each of our books a reading level, more details are which can be found in the reading levels section of our website.

The Enchanted Horse by Magdalen Nabb is a delightful, Christmassy story-the perfect book for 7 and 8 year olds who enjoy reading.Books for 7 and 8 year old keen readers

The illustrations make it  particularly special. To  have a look inside the book, click on the link to Amazon where you will be able to see the first few pages of the story. This book is at Sapphire reading level.

Books for 7 and 8 year old keen readersIf your child prefers whole series’ of books, the Astrosaurs, Steve Cole’s hilariously funny stories about dinosaurs in space are great fun. If you would like a Christmas theme, a set of 3 Astrosaurs with Christmas stories in is available through Amazon .Astrosaurs are also at Sapphire reading level.

Holly Webb books are particularly appealing to little girls. They areBooks for 7 and 8 year old keen readers the perfect stories to read at Christmas time, although sometimes a little hard on the heart strings. Oscar’s Lonely Christmas is just one of many titles. This series all feature puppies and kittens.If you prefer to buy a whole series Amazon are currently listing a set of 10 Holly Webb books which work out at around £1.50 each- perfect for your avid reader who will need lots of books to keep them going over the holidays.Holly Webb’s books are at Ruby level.