Archive for the ‘Reading for 7 and 8 year old children’ Category

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.


Our recent reading study

September 18, 2012

The results of our recent reading study looking at how to get children reading for pleasure, have far exceeded our expectations (and, it seems, those of the children’s parents!). You may remember that we wanted to see whether the simple step by step programme we had designed, could get children who were reluctant readers, to read for pleasure . The second aim was to refine the programme by testing which strategies worked best with children.

Many parents and teachers end up tearing their hair out because they have a child who “doesn’t like books”. They try every type of book, on all sorts of subjects from animals to horse riding and football to dinosaurs in space. Nothing works! “This child clearly does not like books- they’d rather be out playing football or watching TV.” is what we frequently hear from parents. After months and sometimes even years of trying, you can understand why both parents and teachers feel this way. However, we challenge this view very strongly. Our findings have been that it is rarely because they don’t like books (how many children don’t like having a book read to them?) it is because the ones they are being given are too difficult, even if they are books designed for children of their age. Sure, they can often read most of the words, but a book needs to be at a considerably lower reading level than the child can actually read, to ensure that they understand the story and that it isn’t hard work. How many adults enjoy a book that is hard work when they’re reading for pleasure?

In addition, a book needs to be a really good one. In these days of copious reviews, for everything from washing machines to hotels and, of course books, it is indeed a brave person who will choose to buy a book that only has a 2* rating. That is why every book that we used on our study was one that had been previously recommended by children as being a really good 5* story.

Here are some of the comments made by parents whose chidren took part in the reading study. Most were 7 or 8 years old, but the final review comes from the mother of a 10 year old girl who is severely dyslexic.

“I would like to thank you so much for the help you gave James.  He has progressed in such a short time from a boy who wouldn’t read even small stories to himself , to one who is now enjoying reading children’s chapter books on his own. He has always enjoyed Maths, and now I can see his love of reading developing too.  This will only increase as he experiences more and more of what the children’s book world has to offer!  His favourites are Dirty Bertie and Secret Seven!  On the journey you set him, he definitely enjoyed the Greek myths!  Thank you so much once again.

” I can’t praise your reading scheme enough. My 8 year old daughter who found reading an uphill battle now wants to read and look up the meaning of words in the dictionary. She even has the confidence to read out loud in front of her friends. By going back one step, her reading ability has jumped three steps forward. Many thanks for your time and advice. A happy mum.”

From the mother of a severely dyslexic 10 year old. When she started the programme, she was not reading at all to herself. She stayed on the programme for a few weeks longer than the 6 weeks (2 months in all) because we could see she was about to launch into books in a big way.

“Louise is on her 3rd Jake Cake book; she loves them! She is on book 6 of the library reading challenge- I can’t believe it!”

For any of our blog followers wishing to try our programme for themselves, please see click on the following link which gives details of how you and your child can take part. The programme is suitable for children aged between 7 and 11 who have a minimum reading age of 6 years 6 months.

Why wait? Get your reluctant reader reading today.

Reluctant readers getting excited about reading

April 9, 2012

Books for 8 year olds.We’ve started all the readers in our study with books that are easier for them to read than they are currently reading at school and from what parents are telling us, that approach is really working. In addition to books that are easy to read, the size of the text (quite large) is important, as is the addition of pictures.

One Mum, whose 8 year old daughter is on our study, asked why her daughter  liked the Puddle Lane books so much and she replied that it was because she liked the pictures. The pictures in the Puddle Lane books are, perhaps, unusual in that they are in colour and there are lots of them. Children just starting to read alone still rely quite a lot on pictures to help them to understand and visualise the story, so we always try to suggest books with them in. For details of the books we are using on our study, see our previous post.

Some of the children and parents have found that it was just a matter of finding a few easy to read books and that that has been enough to spark their child’s enthusiasm for reading alone. Where this is the case, it is important to keep them on that same reading level for quite a while so that their enthusiasm is maintained, finding lots of good books at that level. We tend to find that the child moves themselves on gradually when they are ready for something more difficult.

If you are following our study and trying it for yourselves at home, your child will be reading to you for 15 minutes a day. Even if they seem to be coping with a book and seem keen to take it off to read for themselves, it is still important that you have the child reading to you so that you can see whether they are reading it correctly and afterwards just briefly check whether they understand what they have just read, by asking something like “So, why did Tom go off to the park then?” Don’t make a big deal of it, but if they don’t understand what they have just read, they won’t enjoy reading for themselves. A lack of comprehension may indicate that the book is still too difficult for them, at which point it might be a good idea to find something easier.

Just occasionally children get so stewed up about reading out loud, that they cannot concentrate on the story. If you suspect this is the case 1) get your child to read to you to ensure they can actually read the words 2) let them read a page or two to themselves and then check they have understood the story. If they do understand, then you can probably let them read alone straightaway.

Picture by GraceFamily at Flickr

Choosing the right books is the key.

March 31, 2012

7 year old enjoying a book  We have been busy sending out books to the children who are taking part in our study “Encouraging 7 and 8 year olds to read for pleasure”. Although it seems early to comment on children’s reactions, we are already hearing from parents of reluctant readers who have received their books and whose children are really enjoying them.

We would put this down to two main factors  1) that the book the child is reading is easy enough for them to read on their own.This point was beautifully illustrated in an article by one of the key publishers of books for reluctant readers. Admittedly, the author is referring to slightly older children in his article, but it has become really clear to us in the last few years that if the text is not easy enough, a child of any age will not be tempted to read for pleasure. It cannot be a pleasure if it’s hard work!

2) Whether they are reading to you or you are reading to them, it has to be a good book.With so many new titles coming on to the market every year in the UK, it is vital to find the very best books that the children will enjoy the most, in order to kick start their love of reading. That is why our website only lists books that are recommended by children.

Books for your child to read to you

If you are following our six week reading study you will need to ask your child to read to you for 15 minutes every day. Make sure that the book is easy enough for them to read without difficulty (it should be easier than their school reading book and they should be stumbling over no more than one word or so on a page). To check which reading level to start your child on, ask them to read from the text in the following  sample books using the “Look Inside” facility in each book.Diamond Level is here.    Emerald Level is here.   Ruby Level is here.

When your child is reading to you, follow the words yourself, ensuring that they read correctly.

The books we are using at Diamond Level are The Magic Porridge Pot , Clever Rabbit and the Wolves , The Little Giraffe and The Chilly Little Penguin – all in Usborne’s First Reading Level 2. If these are too easy for your child, you could  try Usborne’s First Reading Level 3.
At Emerald Level we are using Puddle Lane (Stage 1) books. Written in the 1980’s these Ladybird Books have beautiful colour illustrations and delightful stories. You can still get copies on Amazon and Ebay, but they are not generally available elsewhere. These tend to appeal to girls more than boys, but some boys may enjoy them.For the boys we are using First Greek Myths by Saviour Pirotta – specifically Odysseus and the Wooden Horse and Theseus and the Man Eating Monster. Your child may need a little help with the Greek names, but these are brilliant stories with lovely colour illustrations.

At Ruby Level we are using the Magic Tree House series– with fun and exciting stories that are great fun to read.

Books to read to your child

Children on our study are also being read to by an adult for 15 minutes each day. This will help them to get really fired up about how exciting books can be, without having all the effort of having to read for themselves.

Ask your child to choose  from the following:

“The Hodgeheg” by Dick King Smith.

“The Secret Seven” by Enid Blyton.

“The Rescued Puppy” by Holly Webb.

” Street Child” by Berlie Doherty.

All these books come highly recommended by children of this age.

We’ll let you know shortly how the children are getting on. If you are joining us, we’d love to know how you’re getting on as well, either here or over @hummibooks on Twitter.

Picture Credit- John-Morgan at Flickr

Our pilot study “Encouraging 7 and 8 year olds to read for pleasure”

March 29, 2012

Next week sees the start of our reading study which aims to test which are the best strategies to get 7 and 8 year old children reading to themselves.Children who read for pleasure tend to do better in school than those who don’t and if they never pick up a book to help reinforce the reading process, it can cause problems trying to access the rest of the curriculum after the age of 11 because their reading skills are just not good enough.

The aim of this study is to test our simple step by step programme that parents can use with their child to encourage a love of reading.

This is a good age to get them reading on their own. It helps to reinforce the “learning to read” process, as well as helping them to really enjoy stories so that they find out just how enjoyable reading is and that reading is not just something you do day after day at school with some rather uninteresting school reading book.

Feel free to follow us over the next few weeks via this blog and maybe try the strategies yourselves.A brief outline of how it will work together with a list of the books we will be using is detailed on our next blog post  if you would like to have a go at home.

Happy reading- we hope you’ll enjoy this as much as the children!

Picture credit: John-Morgan at Flickr

Are our literacy rates so low because we’re rushing children into reading?

March 19, 2012

For some time now there has been considerable media coverage about low literacy rates in the UK. Clearly there may be a number of reasons for this, but one that was flagged up as a possibility this weekend in “Any Answers”,  Jonathon Dimbleby’s  follow on programme to “Any Questions”, was that maybe we are rushing children into reading before they are ready and in the process turning them off the whole idea of books and reading.The programme featured a speech therapist who suggested that developing language and socialisation was far more important than launching straight into phonics and reading (the youngest of whom in the UK are only 4 years old when they start school).

In other parts of Europe, children do not start reading until at least 6 years old, having an opportunity to develop those important language skills before the formal teaching begins. Whilst it is true that many children in the UK learn to read easily from an early age, it does seem that some just aren’t ready. In addition, parents sometimes try to move their child quickly onto the level where they think the child should be, rather than just giving them the space to grow to love books, reading texts that are easy for them to understand.

The “take it slowly” approach is very much how we approach reading at Hummingbird Books, giving the children books to read which are much simpler than the texts they are “capable” of reading. In this way, they enjoy books and gradually move themselves along when they are ready (or only need a little encouragement to move to the next level). The best analogy for this seems to be if you imagine sitting down yourself to read a book. You would not usually struggle your way through the text, unable to read some of the words. You just want to be able to read easily and enjoy  the story.

If you are interested in our “take it slowly” approach, we are currently piloting a programme for 7 and 8 year olds who are not really enjoying books at present. We  have  3 places left on this 6 week programme at a cost of approx £40 (when fully operational the cost will be £250).Details of this progamme to get children reading are in yesterday’s post.