Friday, June 4, 2010

Recommended Books for Young Children

Amanda recently asked me to write a list of chapter books I would recommend for a six year old. This is difficult, as all six year olds are different in their interests and level of comprehension when it comes to reading. But I still wanted to help, as reading is a passion in our household!

So instead I decided to list all the chapter books we have read to the children over the last 5 years, and tell you a little about them. I don't think I've forgotten any, but there may have been others. Reading aloud as a family is a wonderful time of closeness, and creates memories and interests and adventure and creativity during free play times too. I have always been very careful about the books I read to my children, starting with pictures books from the library. Introducing concepts too early, encouraging some negative behaviours, or just downright scaring a child can happen easily if we're not careful! We read the children a lot of classics, and of course many, many picture books each day too. It's a big part of life and learning. :) Anyway, here goes.....

I read this one to the older two children when they were 5 and 3. It was a nice simple story. I'm sure the first one is as well!

Well, Saraya scoured the bookcase just this morning and chose The Wishing Chair. I did love Enid Blyton as a child.... wasn't quite sure if I she was ready for this one, but she's half-way through it already and loving it! I found her and Elijah sitting up in the orchard this afternoon on a rug, and Saraya was reading to him. Made me happy. :)

Poor mixed up Amelia Bedelia had us all laughing when we read a few books in this series. A friend loaned them to Saraya when she was just starting to read independently at age 6. These are great books for early readers, and are nice safe stories which get your kids laughing!

Leaving Anne of Green Gables until the children are older, The Story Girl (also by L.M. Montgomery) seemed a more age-appropriate read for them last year. Still, I think we skipped a chapter or two.

For poetry, I would recommend both of these titles. A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson is a classic. We have a large illustrated version and the children all love it.
Now We Are Six is a little collection of poetry by A.A.Milne, the author of the Winnie the Pooh books. Simple, beautiful poetry for little ones. Lots of good verses to memorize in here too!

We only have half of these precious books, but have borrowed the others from the library! Not chapter books, but charming stories in 'old English' that will challenge and inspire young readers.

We are currently reading this one. Elijah is almost 5, and this is his favourite read-aloud so far.
We will read The House at Pooh Corner next. (And after that, Narnia, yay!!!)

A beautiful book of Christian short stories. I read this one to all the children last year, and Saraya read it on her own again earlier this week. Full of moral lessons, it's great!

Heidi by Johanna Spiri was a little challenging for Saraya when we read it - I think she was only 3. :P I plan to offer it as an independent book for her later this year.

Saraya read Book #1 in the Boxcar Children series last week, and LOVED it. There are 19 titles in the series by the original author, and I'll encourage her to read all of them. This would make a great read-aloud for any child 4 and up.

Stuart read Little Men to Saraya when she was 4, and I have just read it again to her and Elijah this year. It is absolute gold. :D I'm leaving the other books by Louisa May Alcott for when the children are older.

We worked through the Little House on the Prairie series when Saraya was 5-6 years old.
They are all absolutely wonderful! My favourite was Farmer Boy.

One of the children pulled Alice In Wonderland off our bookcase last year, and loved the illustrations in it. Of course then they requested it to be read to them. I did read it to them, but some parts were a bit confusing for them. Probably better for 7-8 year olds.

Stuart read Danny, The Champion of the World to Saraya when she was tiny. I think they both really enjoyed it! It's the only Roald Dahl book the children have read so far, but they have listened to James and the Giant Peach on audio CD.

And last but not least, Charlotte's Web. :) This was the very first chapter book we read to Saraya - she was 3 1/2 years old at the time and really enjoyed it.

So there you go. I hope this was helpful! We have read other titles which I haven't included as I wouldn't necessarily recommend them. Five Little Peppers and How They Grew is one we read half of a couple of years ago..... up to the part where one of the children is stolen by a bad man! The story was getting too intense and disturbing for our little ones at that point, so we stopped reading it. We also read The Wizard of Oz last year, purely because Stu and Saraya were in the musical and we were all interested in reading the original story. It was fine, just not generally recommended reading for under 8's.

"If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it
at all". Oscar Wilde


~Amanda in Vic said...

I really appreciate that you have taken the time to respond to my request. Thank you! You have given me some great options there. I just picked up a second-hand copy of "Five Little Peppers..." so thanks for the caution on that one. I think I'll read it first and then decide when to use it for a read-aloud. (I usually do this anyway, but occasionally I just grab and read ;) - these are usually books from the library.)


Kelly said...

Great idea for a post! I have all the Willow Farm and Faraway Tree books if you'd like to borrow, as well as the Mr Galliano's Circus ones, which were a massive hit here!

I've just started on the Little House series, and have Charlotte's Web waiting on the shelf, and the Boxcar Children on order from the library-we obviously have similar tastes ;)

Christy said...

Wonderful list Saminda! We LOVE books in our house!! We've read all the Wishing Chair and Faraway Tree stories to my 5 & 7 yr old girls, Blinky Bill (which i wouldn't recommend with all his "troublesome" behaviours), little House books, Charlotte's Web, Pippi Longstocking, Beatrix Potter collection, and we are half way through the Secret Garden. My eldest is just starting to read chapter books independently so might try and pick up a copy of the Boxcar Children.

Renata said...

Great list Saminda! I've actually written some of them down that I want to look around for - thanks!
We love Enid Blyton & of course Roald Dahl is Zai's favourite author at the moment - he's just finished Boy & quotes about what Roald did during his life!
Have fun


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