There is a whole genre of book that gets far too little press for the works of art that they are… these are written by illustrator/authors with a heart for showing children a love of books. The joy of paging through works of art cannot be underestimated for readers of all ages. Especially for those readers that feel they were pushed a little too fast and too soon. There is a huge difference between loving books and reading, not to mention the difference between literacy and reading skills. While younger children are mastering their reading skills it is important to provide a literature rich environment for them, fill their time by reading to them and by listening to good audible books with them. A child who is learning to read can easily be put off exploring more if they have to read well enough to fill up their own need for a good story. I would rather my children were filled with good stories, even as they acquire those reading skills, rather than left to struggle on their own and then lose heart.
I do believe the focus should be on loving books, rather than getting your child onto the next reading level… Children are very discerning and for all the screen time that is available to them, if time is set aside “a just for books time of day” they will discover books they love and revel in them. The more they enjoy books the more they will be led to read. We all worry that our kids will get something too difficult to read and will crumble, or will get something too easy and get stuck there. It is my experience that children do not get stuck in the “easy reader” category for long, in fact they are chomping to move onwards and upwards. They might plateau there for a while, but their love of stories will see them striving onwards once they are confident in their skills. We have had the full range of readers in our house, from one child who could read everything and did, at age four, to another who only tried to read an entire book for the first time at about age 12 and then devoured The Lord of the Rings in less than a week. Your kids will get there… it takes patience and inspirational books in their lives.
Listening to literature rich stories allows your child to hear the language structure, and gives them ways to express their own ideas. this is a good thing. Children that return to the same book over and over and over again are also teaching themselves literature rich language skills. This all good, never fear the child that appears to be stuck in a rut… just naturally strew some good books about and leave them to it. Eventually they will find something that they love to read and move on to the next reading level.
There is that stage between easy readers and complete chapter books, where a child has the skill, but not the confidence and reading is not yet a natural process for them. At this stage they need amazing illustration rich stories, where there are still more pictures than words on a page… but the illustrations tell a lot of the story for them. It is essential (apparently, according to some very knowledgeable hoods) that the books look like their more grownup counterparts, thicker than an easy reader for sure, real chapter breaks and such like. But the actual story needs to depend on the illustrator to carry the novice reader through. These are a few of our favourite books in this category… they are firm favourites for all of us, whether we have been reading for years or not. A good book is a good book, no matter what age the reader is. All of these books are perfectly readable to a younger audience, or good for the “you read this page, and I’ll read the next” audience or for themselves as their very own reader.
Se7en Series of Books That Your Emerging Reader Will Love
Claude by Axel T. Smith
Claude is quite simply the most adorable pup on earth, a delightful little dog belonging to Mr and Mrs Shinyshoes and his best friend is Sir Bobblysock. The stories all begin with the same few paragraphs, giving the sense of familiarity… the stories are sweet through and through and thoroughly entertaining. They are perfect for reading for the child who is launching out of easy readers… picture rich, in fact dozens of pages with more illustration than words. Fabulous confidence boosters, because there is a collection of them. And perfectly entertaining for the parent sitting alongside to help through those first stumbles or to alternate reading pages or paragraphs together. Great books, that we highly recommend again and again and again. You can meet the author at his website over here.
Ottoline by Chris Riddell
These books are very dear to our hearts, we happen to live with Ottoline, right down to the odd shoes. And when we met Chris Riddell he was so struck by our own Ottoline that he was inspired to create a flurry of artwork on the spot and later a book. Our love for all things Chris Riddell is somewhat unprecedented… his ability to tell a story using illustrations as the means of communication is perfect for eager and readers of all ages and stages. His books transport you into a miniature world, where you can get to know his quirky characters and live alongside them.
These books also begin with the same paragraph: Ottoline lived on the twenty-fourth floor of the Pepperpot Building. She has a friend, Mr Munroe, a small and very hairy being from a bog in Norway. Ottoline is a young girl, whose parents travel the world and she is left somewhat to her own devises to have the most incredible adventures. She is also delightfully quirky, has an Odd Shoe collection, and of course a post card collection with all the postcards sent to her from her parents’ travels. We love Ottoline in our house, she is delightful through and through… adventurous, full of brilliant ideas and just all round feisty.
Goth Girl by Chris Riddell
If you haven’t discovered the Goth Girl then you are in for a treat… these books are each in their own right perfect gifts. For a start they each come with gleaming, glittery spines… and teeny tiny book hidden in the back cover. The goth girl is all the drama within us, popped into the pages of a book. Just lovely, somewhat whimsical and always clever…
Goth girl is about a little girl called Ada, who clumps about their manor house in outrageously galumphing boots… her father believes children should be heard and not seen, and this could be a problem for her. Everything about Goth Girl is delightful, you feel as if you are reading a nnnnnnn
Timmy Failure by Timmy Pastis
Timmy Failure is the best for the young reader who is overwhelmed… because Timmy Failure is so funny that you have to relax and just roll with all the funnies. From start to finish he is hilarious… and highly recommended if you are in need of cheering up. Timmy runs a somewhat disastrous detective agency, that he is convinced is the ultimate in precision detective work. It is not surprising that the help he gets is always somewhat useless. If you have a doubtful reader, even a slightly resistant reader then try these first. They are great chunky hardback books that feel like you are reading fat chapter books, with really short chapters, but the word to illustration ratio perfect for the child that is put off by millions of words on a page. A cartoon boy in a cartoon world, with hilarious characters playing along side him. Totally fab… through and through.
The 13 Bazillion Story Treehouse Series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
Every year or so, another thirteen stories are added to the Treehouse. We met and interviewed the author, Andy Griffiths, last year. And what a chap, filled with wacky ideas and inspired by his young audience who are all over the world.
Imagine the weirdest most wonderful room you could ever think of, and between the illustrator, Terry Denton and the author Andy Griffiths, they will create it. Really the process is a little magical, because they take all the crazy ideas and manage to create… something so believable and yet insane at the same time… these are pure fun and the series of books that took Hood 5 from reading because he must, to reading for pleasure.
The Diary Series by Richard Platt, illustrated by Chris Riddell and David Parkins
We hope more books in this series come out, really we do… they are pure magic. Transporting you back in time and right into a year in the life of a child’s world of the era they are set in. For the child that loves facts, there are plenty to glean in these stories… but also they are written as a story and so paint a vivid picture of life in those times. The stories take you in and out of the seasons, through the high points and celebrations of a given year and everything in-between. They are great reads and include pages and pages of real live illustrations demonstrating all the details of life in ancient times.
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
The idea was that I would read just one of these and my youngest pirate would then be so inspired that he would pick up and follow along where I left off… the truth is they started out a bit rough for me, the viking spirit and all that. But these books totally grew on me and I found myself reading through the entire series… book after book after book. A year of bedtime listening one after the other after the other. We all grew very fond of the hero and his group of friends… they became our friends and our concerns. Honestly our love for the humble, unassuming hero, Hiccup, is immense… these books are pure gold and your newly independent reader will love them, and will love them even more if they can chat about them with someone else who has read them.
If you re still looking for more books to read in this genre, then dash over to What We Are Reading Right Now: The Easy Chapter Book Edition.
Thank you so much to PanMacmillan South Africa, who over time have provided us with these books for review purposes. This is not a sponsored post, we were not paid to create it and the opinions expressed are as usual, our own.