Most parents of children who have been through reception level are familiar with ‘Biff, Chip and Kipper‘, unfortunately…
These books serve a great purpose, introducing young children to the power of reading using limited vocabulary that gradually builds. They are published by the highly respected publisher, Oxford University Press, and don’t get me wrong I have a sort of warm, sentimental affection for them. However, they are pretty boring and I’m not sure that encourages children to read.
I wanted my daughter to be so excited about what she read that she wanted to learn. Instead, she told me in reception that ‘she didn’t really try at school’! Couldn’t we inspire our children to look like this when they read in the early days?!
In Year 2, age seven, my daughter realised that there were exciting books out there and started to read voraciously! It was a sudden and complete revelation for her, stemming from the understanding that, if she could read her own stories she could explore all sorts of worlds, mostly Jacqueline Wilson‘s books at that time. She now reads about two books a week. My favourite is the one about a Bipolar mother, ‘The Illustrated Mum‘, and for Nadia it’s ‘Lily Alone‘.
A transitional moment came for me recently when we started reading ‘Little Women‘ by Louisa May Alcott together. I read extensively until Nadia was born (then there was no time) and have recently started reading again. I read up to four books at a time in different places, but I have never read this book, though of course seen the film. It’s enchanting and so lovely to share with my daughter.
Here are some other books that we love!
For young children:
- ‘Who are you Baby Kangaroo?‘ by Stella Blackstone
- ‘The Gruffalo‘ and ‘What the Ladybird Heard‘ by Julia Donaldson
- The Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child, with my particular favourite being ‘I Will Never Ever Eat a Tomato‘.
For Year 4 and above:
- ‘Murder Most Unladylike‘ which starts a series of detective stories, by Robin Stevens
- ‘Truly Wildly Deeply‘ another series by Jenny McLachlan
- ‘The Race Horse That Wouldn’t Gallop‘ by Clare Balding, an unexpectedly good read
- ‘Awful Auntie‘ by David Walliams
Then for young teenagers:
- I love ‘The Princess Diaries‘ by Meg Cabot, I read them when I was 35!
And of course, back in the day, there were my favourites:
- ‘Flambards‘ the series by K.M. Peyton
- ‘Pollyanna‘ by Eleanor Porter
I wondered if we could make reading as exciting for young children as 500 Words run by Chris Evans at Radio 2, and in association with Oxford University Press. It’s an awesome initiative and inspired my daughter to submit a story three times.
Let’s do something to inspire the little children in their early days of reading too.
Love Ruth x
P.S. Feel free to add your favourite books in the comments! Would love to get some recommendations…