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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:39 pm 
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I have a Y4 DS who likes the TV, Wii, but is disinterested in reading. When reading he decodes, rather than comprehends.

Is the Aesop's Fables book a good way to inculcate an interest in reading, build up a vocabulary and ensure understanding?

I ask this as they are short tales (a bonus already) and so easy to check understanding, have a good vocab and you can see how the words are grammatically used.

In short, can I get away with him just reading this?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:40 pm 
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Hi Optimist,

I had a year 4 just like this and we made a massive breakthrough with Anthony Horowitz. Try starting off with the first Alex Rider in audio book form, the next in novel form and see how he goes. If Alex Rider is too hard, or he prefers funny stuff, try Horowitz's Diamond Brothers series instead. Also Mr Gum is very good and very funny, off the wall.

I'd separate out the two needs. First get him loving reading. Horowitz is famous for getting non readers hooked.
Next, once he's used to reading, get him to listen to more challenging stuff on audio for long journeys. E.g. Just William read by Martin Jarvis has some more old fashioned vocab. Or you could try some Morpurgo or Pullman. Play it aloud in the car so you can hear it too and talk about it, rather than just download to his i-pod.

What are his interests? Let me know and I'll see if I can come up with a reading list that might appeal to him. (That's one way I earn a living - engaging unenthusiastic children to love literacy - so I hope I can help.)


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:03 pm 
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Location: East Kent
Try Audio Books, there is a huge selection available ( you can borrow them from the library) that way he will be exposed to the vocabulary and can get involved in the plot. You can listen to them in together ( eg on car journeys) and can discuss what has happened , what you think is going to happen next etc. there is a wide range available , Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter is really good. He may well want to go and read more of them fro himself too


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:15 pm 
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Hi Optimist,

You PMd me and I tried to reply but my outbox shows the message as unsent.

Just to clarify - I was offering to help if I can as a fellow forum member, not as a professional!

From what you say, Horowitz would be good, as he is action-packed and very fast paced - full of guns and gadgets but lovely clear prose and humour. technically the books are very well plotted. The Alex Rider series isn't difficult to read and the vocab isn't particularly varied (Unless you like knowing the name of every different gun and top notch push bike in the universe.) The point of reading him would be to develop enthusiasm as a first stage, so he realises that books can be fun.

Next, I'd not try to get him to read Just William or any Morpurgo - it's too archaic in places. But he could listen to them, to tune in his ear.

Then you could try Louis Sachar who has very strong ideas in simple language. Holes is great, as is Small Steps.

Once he enjoys books like these, it's easier to broaden the material. But until he gets over the hurdle of finding books boring, I'd not try anything too taxing as it'll just confirm his low opinion of reading and reinforce his reluctance.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:28 pm 
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Menagerie, can you come with me to DS's school and stand behind me nodding at parents' evening (pretty please :D )?

DS likes reading - so long as it's joke books, the dreaded Beast Quest, Wimpy Kid or any other kind of trash. Since he's only 7 I really don't have a problem with this. I do try to sneak some slightly more 'classic' children's literature in there now and again - he's read some Morpurgo and the first 2 Potters - but I think it's more important that he develops a love of reading than reads anything in particular at this stage. Unfortunately the school don't agree. In Year 2 the teacher confined herself to complaining about the books he chose. The Year 3 teacher is more pro-active and is issuing his own choice of reading books - currently Bartimaeus - The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud which poor DS doesn't understand - partly because it is the 3rd or 4th of a series of books he's never even heard of before.

I put a note in DS's school diary when I heard him read aloud to me mentioning that he had to ask the meaning of so many words that I doubted whether it was a suitable book for him to be reading on his own. Teacher unimpressed. Sent back rather grumpy message via DS about the importance of him being 'challenged.'

So tempted to send message back that I would rather his school work was challenging (it never is) and he read for pleasure - but I know I would never have the nerve. :?

Might try DS on some Horowitz though. He likes guns. :D


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:45 pm 
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Location: East Kent
nothing wrong with a bit of trash..I still read it!


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:03 pm 
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Rob Childs books did it for my son. The stories are all based around football teams.

(ps. I love trash also.)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:47 pm 
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Push-pulkl you are right and they are wrong. A love of reading is all that counts at this stage. We had two hideous years of gritted teeth at yet another %@**! Horrid Henry story request (I loathe those books) but it was worth it. Suddenly they developed a taste for something more challenging. I started reading Alex Rider to my son when he was 7 nearly 8. (I loved it so much I sat up all night reading the whole thing by torch light - and it is trash, it's just very good trash.)

I hold Anthony Horowitz in very high esteem as he got my 'fiction is rubbish' son to adore reading, and he's never looked back since. He read Horowitz Diamond Bros and Rider series novels until he ran out of them, then moved on to very silly Mr Gum, and then to some classics like Silver Sword, Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Machine Gunners. Anything with a bit of action. They are allowed to have their own taste in books. Nothing will induce my sons to pick up a Roman Histories, but some boys lap them up.

Another one to look out for is Louis Sachar. Not read his books for younger children, but his older ones (Holes, Small Steps, There's a Boy in The Girls' Bathroom) kept both my DSs rapt. This was an interesting progression though. Holes starts slowly and I had to explain that this was intentional, that not all writers give you all the information up front, as Horowitz does. We actually laughed when the DC finally discovered (about p30) what the boy had done to get into the detention centre in the first place. They sighed with relief so loud, it was as if they'd been bursting for the loo. The suspense had been agony for them!

DS still won't pick up a Morpurgo, but will listen if I read them aloud and give every character a very silly voice.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:25 pm 
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Location: East Kent
if he loves reading , let him read..how many adults would like to be told what they " should" read...

a loveof reading is a marvellous thing, we shouldn't stifle it


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