Starting Out as an Independent Reader 6+

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.

Contemporary Fiction

 

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Classic Fiction

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Over 20 Books for 9-12yr olds

“It is through the power and music and magic of stories and poems that children can expand their own intellectual curiosity, develop the empathy and awareness that they will need to tackle the complexities of their own emotions, of the human condition in which they find themselves.”

— Michael Morpurgo

Continue reading

Christmas is Coming 2021

…the most startling thing about this wonderful tree was that hundreds of tapers glittered like stars in its dark branches, and the tree itself, shining with an inner light, invited the children to pick its blossoms and fruits.

The Nutcracker, E.T.A. Hoffman Continue reading

Getting in the Picture

“To really instil a love of art, children need to be encouraged to have a go and be creative themselves.”

— James Mayhew

In the last three blogposts I have shown how James Mayhew brings life to museums in Katie’s Picture Show, and now in this final post I want to explore how he brings life to the artwork itself.

Katie frame 1

Mayhew’s story begins in the Classical world. Continue reading

‘Katie’s Picture Show’: Museums are Gateways to Adventure

“A visit to a museum is a search for beauty, truth, and meaning in our lives. Go to museums as often as you can.”
— Maira Kalman

One of the most inspiring features of James Mayhew’s Katie series is the way in which museums and art galleries become playgrounds for adventure. Continue reading

‘Katie Picture’s Show’: The Ultimate Children’s Museum Guide

MUSEUM GUIDE

Characters in storybooks can be many things – heroes, villains, friends, and mentors. But they can also serve as a guide – not only through a story, but in a story as they help us explore different aspects of life beyond our experience. James Mayhew’s Katie is just this, ushering us simultaneously through Katie’s Picture Show (2014) and Continue reading

Over 10 More Children’s Books 9+

I opened a book and in I strode
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.

I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion. Continue reading

Read Alouds for 5 year olds

“…the voice that tells us a story aloud is always more than a carrier wave bringing us the meaning; it’s a companion through the events of the story, ensuring that the feelings it stirs in us are held within the circle of attachment connecting the adult reading, and the child listening. To hear a story is a social act.” — Francis Spufford, The Child that Books Built

I love Francis Spufford’s reminder that “to hear a story is a social act.” Continue reading