Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, or a duty. It should be offered as a gift.
— Kate DiCamillo
I couldn’t agree more with Kate DiCamillo. So let’s get offering.
These early years of independent reading are laying down foundations for our children. For a child to be immersed in a story and taken off to a faraway land will come naturally and be easy for some children, but many will need a helping hand or two. Remember their first toddler steps across the sitting room floor, the stumbling and getting back up. Of course we want our children to walk so they can become independent and explore the world, but we were there by their side helping them. Reading is similar. Our children need us.
My three children have all learnt in different ways and at different speeds. Currently my nearly 7 year old and I read together every night. She can physically read the words on the pages in books such as those listed below, but has low stamina. So often we alternate reading pages aloud to each other, or she may read 1 page in every 4, or 1 paragraph in every 2 pages. I play it by ear, but I focus on making sure that she is enjoying the story and the experience.
With my son (now 10) however, I found in those early years that he found it hard to start a new book and immerse himself in a new place with new characters when he was still engrossed in the previous story. So I often used to read the whole first chapter to him and then he would be happy to be left to read independently. He needed a helping hand. Occasionally he still asks me to start a new book for him (which I love), although now I only read the first page or two, and it’s more likely to be The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas or Redwall by Brian Jacques.
Below I have listed a selection of over 15 stories for 6-9 year olds. Our children are all different but let’s make sure that 2022 is the year of offering the gift of reading.