My 11 year old son has always struggled with language. Reading (and learning to read) has been pure torture for all of us, but finally, FINALLY he is reading FOR FUN. Within the last few weeks I’ve seen him voluntarily spend an hour or more each day reading….as in he’s not watching movies or playing outside….he’s READING. It makes me want to cry (no exaggeration). As ecstatic as I am we have two small problems.
First, the book series he’s reading and that created this love of reading, is twaddle. The kind that makes you want to poke your eyes out and might actually destroy brain cells. My husband keeps shushing me away and saying, “But he’s READING!!!!”
Second, he doesn’t read at a level that most 11 year old boys read so many of the books I want to suggest, that I know he’ll love, he just can’t read on his own yet. He can’t read Narnia, Tolkien is a pipe-dream. Redwall is not going to happen. He can handle Nate the Great or Encyclopedia Brown….and the dreaded Warriors series.
Do any of you have suggestions for an older boy who doesn’t read very well yet? He hates having to read “baby” books, but his reading skills have not caught up with his imagination. We do read living books (literature, for fun types) to him during the day and at bedtime, and during his “reading practice” with me we read an “older boy” type book. I’m looking for things he can read on his own, that will continue this newfound love of reading.
Thanks! I told my husband I may never be able to show my face on the forum after admitting that my son reads twaddle.
Don’t panic — and don’t feel ashamed! Truth is my 11 year old is still reads far more Pokemon and Geronamo Stilton and such –he loves spy adventures and things like that, but it’s not easy to find appropriate books like that for him, and it’s not easy to get him interested in a classic book. Granted, we are new to homeschooling and in PS that is the kind of thing (twaddle) the library stocks. I make a point of reading the classic to him, but he’s not ready for the vocabulary or the length on Narnia or The Hobbit on his own. As an avid reader all my life I really didn’t read those types of books on my own until I was in my teens. I read mostly Nancy Drew and Judy Blume books (Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself was my favourite at 12).
Personally I think there is nothing wrong with Encyclopedia Brown – I just introduced him to Encyclopedia this past week and he loves it. It is definately an improvement over Pokemon! While he enjoys most books I’ve read him (and I have read him all the Narnia books, but he found The Hobbit too boring so we never got past the first two chapters — I’ll try again in a few months) he is not going to enjoy all of them. He found a 4-book series in the Church library called The Elijah Project which is kind of a Christian Sci-Fi adventure. The books were short and not too complicated for him. Also, he enjoyed the Adventures in Odyssey Kidsboro books. I will be looking for other similar books by other Christian authors for him. There are some others he’s enjoyed as well — if you can give me an idea of the types of stories he likes, that might help me remember some other suggestions. Does he like non-fiction? Books that feature animals?
I think that as long as we can keep a balanced diet of good literature, a little twaddle isn’t going to hurt them. There is good twaddle and bad twaddle of course (I’ll take Stilton over Pokemon any day!) Eventually they will learn to have a better appreciation for good literature, and as their attention and skills increase and mature, so will their taste in literature. Think of it like candy — not something to live on, but a little now and then isn’t going to hurt anyone.
I totally agree – you start where your child is, and if the only things he’ll touch and can read independently (that he doesn’t feel are insulting his age/intelligence) are twaddle, use it!
Right now I’m reading Viking Adventure by Clyde Robert Bulla to my younger grades and it’s both very interesting AND a nice, easy chapter book. The text is pretty large, with chapters just a few pages long and illustrations here and there too. It’s in Module 4’s list for grades 1-3, but my 5th grader likes listening in too.
You might try a Childhood of Famous Americans chapter book if there is one who would be a high interest for him, like a baseball player, astornaut, or the Wright brothers, but they are still pretty long/hefty. It would have to be something he’s really interested in. I think they also have a few of them in an easier “reader” type format, so check Amazon and then order things from the library.
You’re husband is right – celebrate that he’s reading, keep reading great literature TO him, and give him a little time to be ready to move to more difficult material, then start weaning away the twaddle when he’s more confident in his reading.
Pokemon is the bane of my existence!!! As far as books that he likes…he likes to LISTEN to books like Narnia, Leven Thumps, Hobbit, Great Brain, pretty much anything we read to him. What he likes to READ is Pokemon, animal (either nonfiction OR fictitious animals fighting or going on quests), mysteries, adventures, fantasy. He loves nonfiction history as well. No sports or westerns. I’ve spent hours and hours finding easy readers nonfiction stuff for him, and he just turns up his nose. Same with fiction books (unless he’s somehow developed an obsession with it). We’re making a list for him with books he can choose from so he feels like he still has a choice and are making a deal…he can read one Warriors (or other twaddle book) and then one from our list, then another twaddle, then one from the list. Hopefully, as his vocabulary and reading skills increase he’ll turn to richer, more living books!
Oh, and another thing you might try sometime is getting the audio book of a harder book (Narnia, perhaps?) and having him read along with the CD. Then make a deal that he can read one chapter over a few days and listen to the next chapter on CD, etc. Slowly have him doing more reading and less listening.
Tristan, thanks for reminding me of Clyde Robert Bulla. We’ve read a few of his books and liked them. I keep forgetting that some are shorter than others….and the shorter ones might work!
Try the Little Britches series. They are ‘Little House on the Prairie for boys’ as the writer/main character is a boy. The words are simple yet wholesome, true stories and the boy, though young, has incredible family responsibility and does cool things like horse tricks. My son, who LOVED the Warrior series, loves this one also. It is a series so can extend out a long time.
shannon in NC
I’m not sure on the reading level…. but you might want to look at this series by John? Christopher. (Christopher is definitely the last name…)
The White Mountains
The City of Gold and Lead
The Pool of Fire
prequel – the Day the Tripods came
It is a trilogy (now 4 books) that I loved as a youth and apparently so did my husband. I don’t think the reading level was too high. It is a sci-fi book so you will have to decide. I have seen it on some CM sites booklists, and we plan to have our kids read them.
Basically it is based on Earth in the not-to-distant but not specified future…. but at first it seems more like the past – maybe late 1800’s. The world is basically in control by space aliens called Tripods (but the characters think that life has always been the way they are.) This ends up being an adventure of a couple of boys – at first to escape the tripods, then to save other youth, and eventually to save the world.
spoiler warning – in the 3rd book, one of the main characters ends up sacrificing himself to save the world.
My son (who is very much like yours with language) enjoyed the Sugar Creek gang series when he was 11. It is wholesome and has a mystery element to it.
btw – I wouldn’t likely buy the boxed set I linked… it is probalby cheaper to buy them seperately.
Hank the Cow Dog series
and YEAH!!! he’s reading on his own
Right — We just picked up another Hank the Cow Dog book yesterday at a used book store! My son loves them — they are pretty funny.
I’m sorry I missed this yesterday. Yes, find him some Hank! I think he’ll love that series. If he likes animal stories, how about the Burgess animal stories? The Adventures of Grandfather Frog and like that?
I like the idea of letting him choose one of his, then one from your list.
Thanks ladies. I read some Hank the Cowdog with my other son a few years back when he was at this stage and I was bothered by the crude/rude/coarse language. Did I just pick up a few bad examples among the bunch? We already struggle with calling each other bad names and Hank did it all the time. Maybe I’ll have to pick up a few more and read them on my own before I turn them over to him.
Can you believe that my library doesn’t have any Sugar Creek Gang books!
Hmmm… It’s been a while since I read any of them, and to be honest I only read the first few chapters of the first one and let my son take over from there. I’m going to have to look a little closer at this one…
Our church library has most of the Sugar Creek Gang series, but I wasn’t able to find them at the public library.
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