Saturday, 4 June 2011

Feeding the voracious reader

Two of my older children are keen readers and one devours books at a pace which has caused me difficulty. I can't complain because I was exactly the same and in many ways, I am glad that they love books.

The main issue seems to be finding suitable books for able readers who are still children. The difficulty seems greatest between the ages of about 9 and 11.
Here are a few thoughts and then ideas. I appreciate that any one book will suffice for about a couple of hours.

  • This can prove expensive. Borrow as much as possible. I have many kind friends and relatives who have helped. Sadly, library books for this age group are often poorly written and either about sport or dysfunctional families. Libraries are good for classics. I was brought up in a church with a Sunday School library which provided many books over the years.
  • Enthusiastic readers don't mind battered books as long as they can still be read.
  • Talk to trusted friends about whether books are suitable-there probably isn't time to read everything first but it is wise to keep a watchful eye.
  • Re-reading books helps!
  • Don't ignore older books.
  • These are books that my children have enjoyed. We don't agree with everything in them and some of the points can be used for discussion. Other families may have different standards and might not want their children to read all of these-check for yourself.
  • Children's classics-Heidi, Little house on the prairie series, Children on the Oregon trail, Rebecca of Sunnybrooke farm, Anne of Green Gables, Swallows and Amazons series (mine weren't especially keen on this series), Chronicles of Narnia, Seven Little Australians, Moonfleet, What Katie did, Little women, The family at One End Street.
  • Long series-Chalet school series (around 65 books!), Abbey books, Henty, Billabong books, Redwall.
  • Adult classics-be careful not all are suitable. I read Jane Eyre aged 11 and really wasn't mature enough to manage this. Jane Austen is more suitable than the Brontes but children of this age will miss much of the subtler nauces. Oliver Twist, Miss Read books, Thirty nine steps, Stepping heavenward, Round the world in 80 days.
  • More modern books-Some Michael Morpurgo (do preread), Tiger, Tiger by Lynne Banks.
  • Christian books for children-Crown and Covenant series by Douglas Bond and the Mr Pipes series by the same author. Patricia St John's Rainbow garden, Treasures of the Snow and Tanglewood secrets. OF Walton's books-real tear jerkers. Piet Prin's books-these are translated from Dutch and often have a historical theme. Christian Focus Series of "Ten children"-warning these can be read very fast. The Sower series of biographies are a bit longer. Paul White's Jungle Doctor series-again fast reading, Trail Blazers series, Sarah Maxwell's Moody series, Ned by Barbara Coyle.
  • Adult biographies-again you need to judge a child's maturity. Nine day queen was an early adult read but at a slightly older age than this. Ten Fingers for God and Climb every mountain by Dorothy Clarke Wilson, The Hiding Place.
  • Non-fiction-seems to appeal to boys more than girls, at least in this house especially books about science, volcanoes, transport, Guinness Book of  World Records.
With thanks to my eldest daughter, and most voracious reader, for her help with this.
Please comment with other suggestions.

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