Book recommendations to encourage an almost-8YO to read to himself?

G - posted on 06/04/2013 ( 12 moms have responded )

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Hi Moms! Our son is a reluctant reader--he gets frustrated easily when reading to himself and really hasn't grabbed onto a "nice" series (like Magic Tree House, which we happen to have a bunch of!!). Can parents out there recommend series for 7-to-8 YO boys that are engaging and not-too-challenging?

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Kyle - posted on 06/14/2013

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I have an 8 year old boy too. We do two kinds of reading. The easier books he reads to himself and harder books we read chapter by chapter at night together before bed. They need to hear the language spoken as well as read it themselves. At this moment he is reading the "How to Train Your Dragon" Series by himself and we are reading the Narnia books together. An easier read that he really liked were the Encyclopedia Brown books. The books are a compilation of "cases" each only 2-3 pages long and you have to guess the solution to the mystery. The answer is at the end of the book. They are short, quick, and pretty entertaining!

Beth - posted on 06/14/2013

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Geronimo Stilton.
My son eats these books. They are very easy to read adventure books. The characters are mice. They also have a fantasy series with these same characters, but they are a little more difficult.

Sarah - posted on 06/13/2013

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My son started reading by himself by reading the Beast Quest books. There are over 60. Michael Morpurgo is fantastic and writes for different age levels and different subjects. So you should be able to find one which appeals to him. My son and I read together The Last Wolf by Michael Morpurgo. He read a page then I read a page. It worked well because there is some tricky words to read. Some of the book is set in the 18th century and the language can be a bit difficult but we spoke about it together and it was fine.

Karen - posted on 06/11/2013

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Cam Jansen, Black Lagoon series, Time Warp Trio, magazines. I'd hold off with Magic Tree House until he is more comfortable reading. The first eight are easier to read so those should be good for him when he is ready. The next books are more challenging.

Fatima - posted on 06/11/2013

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If your son is a soccer fan, then get him the David Beckham Academy series.

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Tracy - posted on 06/12/2013

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The Cricket Magazine group has some really excellent magazines, geared to different interests as well as different reading levels. I think the most important thing, though, is to play to his interests -- figure out what he loves to read about, and find more like that. Graphic novels/comic books are usually popular with reluctant readers -- some kids engage more fully when there is more "visual" storytelling as opposed to narration. If he gets frustrated with something, it's likely that it's more challenging than he's ready for right now. I suggest using the Accelerated Reader book finder to find out reading levels of various books and make lists of other books at a similar level that might interest him. (A lot of schools use the Accelerated Reader program to motivate kids to read; you might check with teachers at his school for suggestions, or the children's collection librarian at school or the local library). Or just turn him loose at the library or a book store and see what he gravitates toward!

Karen - posted on 06/10/2013

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First of all, be very careful about book selection - just because they can, doesn't mean they should. I would steer very clear of Harry Potter at this age, even if he wants to read it (especially because other kids will start to do it and he may want to to seem cool). The last thing you need is for him to tackle subjects he is not ready for (remember Harry is an 11 y.o. boy at the beginning and the issues and situation are more suitable for that age and up) and end up scaring himself and making reading scary. My 9 y.o. is a voracious reader, we started with Highlights magazine (or any kids' magazine), it's amazing how cool reading becomes when it's mail addressed just to you. Have him read whatever interests him, whether it's Guiness Book of World Records, Geronimo Stilton, Hardy Boys, the encyclopedia, or how to play hockey or put together a car engine. As long as he's reading something it's OK. It's also helpful if he has plenty of books around the house and also sees you reading. Maybe try something like the L.Frank Baum books to read to him (Wizard of Oz and beyond, 14 books about the land of oz). Try taking books rather than electronics in the car, DD has polished off many a book during the hour's ride to Grandma's house. I have found that allowing electronics at that age was a missed opportunity, kids do become bored on long car trips and want to do something, rather than popping in a movie or pulling out the Play Station, if a book is all that's available then that's what they will entertain themselves with. Above all, don't give up. And make sure the message is communicated that it's OK to not like a book either. DD has tried a few that I thought she'd love that she didn't and that's OK too. As there is no pressure to love something she moves on to other books rather than being turned off to it because she was forced to finish a book she disliked.

I also don't think there are "boy" series and "girl" series, just good books. Try not to get focused on whether it's something that one gender will like specifically. Things like 39 Clues, Black Stallion, Swiss Family Robinson can appeal to anyone as they are well written.

Margarita - posted on 06/10/2013

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He may be too young for Harry potter and too old for Mo Willems. How about Lemony Snickett? Check your local library and see if they have a copy or two of some of his stuff. If I'm not mistaken, he should be the right age for the Goosebumps series as well (provided he doesn't scare easily).

I wouldn't be too quick to stop reading to him or have him read to you. It's a wonderful bonding experience and may help him feel more confident. Even a quick bedtime story would do the job. I've also heard some libraries have teamed up with therapy dogs in training and bring them in on certain dates/times and pair them up with children who read to the dogs. It's a nice non-judge mental audience and they can hug or pet them when they get discouraged. You might want to check with your library and see if they have something like that.

Good luck!

G - posted on 06/07/2013

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Thanks so much for your advice, SiewYien! I'll check out the magazine and start with a half hour. Happy summer!

SiewYean - posted on 06/06/2013

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I fully understand your situation. I have a son who used to be a reluctant reader too. I would recommend that you let him read materials which is of interest to him for example comics or magazines. This is to motivate and encourage him to read.

My son loves the science magazine from http://www.youngscientistsreader.com.sg/... . It is called the Young Scientists Magazine. There are lots of colorful pictures and he learns science facts. We do a subscription. He is always looking forward on the arrival of the magazine at the beginning of each month.

Schedule half an hour each day for him to do self reading. Let him picks whatever book he wants. Do nothing but just read in a room. This will become habit as the day goes by.

In a matter of time, you will realize he will pick up all the "nice" series and hunger for more higher level books.

It has worked out well for my son this way. I hope it will be the same for yours.

G - posted on 06/05/2013

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Thanks for the tips, Kristin! We've done Geronimo Stilton audio books, and I find them VERY hard to listen to. I should just try reading 'em, tho! We'll try the other books you recommended.

Kristin - posted on 06/04/2013

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The Riot Brothers, by Mary Amato is a cute series. Both my son (9) and daughter (7) like them.
Nate the Great
Gironimo Stilton (NOT the fantasy ones, they're awful)

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