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Best Books for 5 yr old slow reader

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Initial post: 21 Jul 2011 10:15:31 BDT
My son is just below the expected level for his reading having completed reception class. I want to help change this. I am considerig getting either Reading Reflex or Teach your kids to read for dummies.

However I also want to know which books I should buy to help him better grasp reading. He was a later talker and still has some speech issues

Thanks in advance

Posted on 21 Jul 2011 10:16:22 BDT

Posted on 21 Jul 2011 11:17:10 BDT
Practising the basics is important - checking he knows his first phonics (the sounds of the letters and some blends, e.g. sh, oo) and practising them, perhaps even blending simple words. If his class have been learning to recognise key words you could work with some of these - e.g. asking him to find 'the' on a page of a book you are sharing. Don't forget just sharing - and enjoying - a good story book (and understanding how it works) is important. Talk about the pictures, new words, what might happen next, which bits he liked best, which bits he would change.

Oxford Reading Tree do produce a set of 'read at home' books that are designed to complement the books read in school. Children love the stories and there is always lots to talk about in the pictures but it is based on learning the key words. You might find your local library stock some first readers - which is cheaper than getting your own and might provide more variety.

Posted on 21 Jul 2011 19:39:11 BDT
E. Reddy says:
I would avoid anything that looks like a reading scheme like the plague, too like school and turns reading into a chore. Go for things with lots of pictures and repetition I would recommend Green Eggs and Ham or The Cat in the Hat books by Dr Seuss. Room on the Broom and Snail on the Whale are more good books and the seriously silly stories but preferably the individual books not the collection as the collection has too many words on a page. I would also suggest reading part of the story and only getting your son to read after he already knows the story to help with the flow. It is all about making reading fun and building confidence. Make sure you also read to your son regularly the Hiccup books are fun to read out loud though lots of shouting so be prepared to end up a bit hoarse.

Posted on 21 Jul 2011 20:06:21 BDT
Thank you guys so much. please keep the comments coming. I grew up on Dr Seuss so that sounds good. He uses his sound book a lot to practice sounds.

Posted on 24 Jul 2011 22:49:30 BDT
E. Reddy says:
What about the Mog books? Not sure what level but not too many words on a page and great illustrations.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2011 08:03:18 BDT
S BIGGS says:
Honestly I would stick to learning-to-read books rather than best-loved story books. Learning books are designed to build on vocabulary based on phonics. For confidence boosting the Jelly and Bean books are fantastic - from the very basic at level one "cat sat on mat" type of thing, to more complex phonic sounds. I would also second the comments on the Oxford Reading Tree.

Posted on 25 Jul 2011 12:56:07 BDT
BM says:
The Oxford Reading Tree books are really good and if your son is happy to read a reading scheme type of book then I would go for those. I also used my local library which grades bookks into "early readers" etc and some of those were excellent - lots of repetition and common words etc. My son used to pick titles he liked the look of that way aswell...

Posted on 26 Jul 2011 22:54:34 BDT
you guys have really given me soem great ideas. please do keep them coming.

Posted on 27 Jul 2011 14:47:31 BDT
MR G J ALLEN says:
Don't avoid the reading scheme books as suggested above. They are fantastic value, and well designed.

Consider giving the child one book at a time as a "present" (e.g. one per night) to make it less like school. Even consider giving the child a choice between two, to make them feel even more attached to the book and likely to want to read it.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jul 2011 15:56:27 BDT
Peter C says:
Try the Myro Series of books about aeroplanes.
Myro Arrives in Australia: Myro, the Smallest Plane in the World (Myro Goes to Australia)

Little boys love the flying theme and it really encourages them to want to read - rather than being forced to read.

The stories are fun, pictures lovely and detailed and there's fact files and maps at the back of each book.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jul 2011 00:28:17 BDT
C. Pickup says:
Hi...if you don't mind me asking, does(or has) your son have problems with his hearing? Do you read bedtime stories to him every night now? What have they suggested at school?

Posted on 28 Jul 2011 14:24:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Jul 2011 14:26:56 BDT
maggie says:
I bought the 'I Can Read' books for my grandson. He loves Spiderman and although a year ago he could only read the odd word, now he is sitting and reading them by himself. By the way he is 6 years old now.
There is a vast selection of different books in this series not nescessary Spiderman.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jul 2011 16:18:59 BDT
trumbles mum says:
I taught children in nursery and KS1 and 2 for thirty years and eventually became a Leading Literacy Teacher, trouble shooting in schools failing in the teaching of literacy.
Your son is NOT falling behind. Many children with speech issues are not as secure in reading as their peers at his age. He will make progress in a while and is almost certain to catch up with his classmates if he doesn't come to fear reading or see it as a dull chore. The fault - if there is one - often lies with the rigid methods of teaching reading imposed by head teachers and stuck to, out of duty, by class teachers. Some children quickly pick up a sense of 'not being good' at reading.
Please, please make reading a fun game for your little boy. Remember that in all but a few countries in the world, he would still have another year or so of nursery education. We are SO quick to push children in a specific direction because we see ourselves as parents or teachers, reflected in their 'progress.' My own son was treated in this way as a 5 and 6 year old, by a teacher who was very inexperienced, and he took years to begin to enjoy reading again.
Try taking him to a library and letting him choose his own books. Don't worry if you think the book is beyond his capabilities. Enjoy reading it to him. It will give you an indication of what type of books he likes - fiction, non-fiction, books about a particular themes - ie if he likes stories about tigers, he may want to read non-fiction about tigers to find out more about the etc. A good librarian will be able to help you find other books he may like that will help him enjoy reading.
Help him write a sentence about the book and let him read it to anyone who will listen, then ask him if he can find some of the words from his sentence in his book. Reading and writing go hand in hand. Try getting him to write and draw something new every few days and allow him to read it as often as he likes. You may get bored, but this is about him.
If he is able, take turns at reading a sentence so that the text seems less arduous (remember those first adult novels they gave you in high school that seemed so daunting?). I still do this with my neighbour's 9 year old who has been told too often that she is a poor reader and now finds it hard to face a book at all. We read each book twice, She reads the opening sentence on the first read-through and I do so on the second reading, that way she reads the whole book eventually.
When you are out and about play the dim parent! Try looking puzzled and asking him 'What shop do you think that is?' (most kids know Tescos or or the Post Office etc.) or 'What do you think the man in that van does?' ( British Gas is a good one here) to draw his attention to the use of texts outside. It is amazing what a confidence booster being able to read 'Tescos' when Mum can't, gives to young readers.
The more you read to your son, the more he will enjoy books and want to read for himself. Above all, don't fall into the common trap of saying books are 'too hard,' 'too easy,' 'too old,' or 'too young' for him. Accept his choices and work with them. We all enjoy magazines, papers or books that are rather simple for our reading skills and, if we had never struggled with a book we found difficult because we really wanted to know what it was about, we would still be reading at primary levels ourselves.
Be as relaxed as you can, remember there is no need to worry as he's very young still. If you are stressed, he will see that as something he and books have caused. You would be surprised how many children I have known who have left Reception unable to read much more than their first name but have come back into Year 1 able to read well, just because they have had a fun summer noticing words in town, on TV etc., reading small amounts and listening to mum, dad or granny read to them each day.
Good luck and enjoy this time. I look back with very fond memories of this stage of my childrens' lives. One took to reading like a duck to water at age three and nobody remembers teaching her at all, it just happened. The other struggled, made progress at a less than average rate and was knocked back further by a poor teacher, but still remembers with pleasure the games we played and cosy bedtime story/reading sessions we had. He was reading well above average for his age by high school age, despite his early difficulties. He's 30 now and I sometimes wonder how I survived all that parenting worry - and why I did worry as he and his sister have turned out very well - but they still turn up on my doorstep for a faily visit with half a ton of laundry for me to do for them, there are just somethings I never did manage to teach them to enjoy doing!!

Posted on 28 Jul 2011 17:58:18 BDT
Aww thank you so much. I will definitely use those ideas. I found my old Dr Seuss ABC book and he loves me reading that book. I let him tell me what the letter is and the sounds and he enjoys that. so does his younger brother

As for his hearing. He has no hearing problems whatsoever.

I am guessing a mixture of reading scheme books and any other book will help plus the suggestions by trumbles mum will do well.

I will be trying to fit this all in amongst the homework he has over the 6weeks holidays. Do flash cards help at all and is it worth using a tutor?

Posted on 29 Jul 2011 07:48:47 BDT
Hi Kandi, I just read these posts... we too have a little boy, he's got some speech and language difficulties (Autism spectrum disorder) and the progress with reading has been slow. One of the things that I see problematic is that some books just have too much going on on the page for him... but we had a lot of success with my husband's childhood copy of Dr Seuss's ABC too, so I thought I'd join in here! (Gerald McBoingBoing has also been a good book for us!) As other's have said, keep it fun. For us, we find that motivation is so much of the issue... if he's not interested it's not happening. Now that our little boy is 5.5 we are finding him getting really into things (Thomas the Tank Engine - no surprises there!). So, we use his motivations... be it trains, or tv programmes that he's currently into. I seek out books that are not over-loaded and have simple graphic illustrations (like the Oxford reading scheme Biff and Chip books), we've picked up the read at home series bought cheaply at car boot sales. And these are great places to buy books! We keep a good turnaround going so that the books don't get stale, and change them around. We also got a bookcase (recycled) like you get in a library, so that a few books are on 'display' cover facing out into the room. These books are more visually available, and look more inviting than the spines only showing in the bookcase. My last car boot sale purchase has been a series of books each individual book focussing on a single letter. (Moncure) They also have the flashcards to go with, and whilst I have no intention of making these books to be hard work for anyone - he's interested... and that's the main thing. I have put all but 2 of the books in my room, so as not to swamp him, but he like's things with levels (like computer games) so, when he's done with the first 2 we will move on, he might even like a star chart to show where he's at with the series, but it's not an 'issue' he doesn't have to earn stars or rewards, but if it's what motivates or encourages him, I will do that... There's no prescription, but whatever you do, it should be fun (or at least not stressful!). And don't worry too much if your little boy just doesn't seem interested in 'learning to read', we are often in a big hurry to keep up, or catch up with the other kids attainments, but... some of us have kids interested in approaching it from another angle and I don't doubt that my little boy will get there in the end and may have had a more fulfilling journey along the meandering way. I will leave you with a book title that we have really loved looking at: Freight train (Crews). It's just a book, one of many... but illustrates quite nicely the idea that you can have a book that doesn't have lots of words, not lots of wishy washy paintings, is clear and beautiful and doesn't demand lots of sitting still thinking! I hope you enjoy your journey with your little one...

Posted on 29 Jul 2011 09:11:34 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Jul 2011 09:19:43 BDT
Elise says:
I'd try the "Read it Yourself" Ladybird books - not strictly a reading scheme, but split into levels of difficulty from level 1 which is very simple indeed to level 4 which are much more fully rounded stories. Add to that pretty much anything by Dr Seuss. Good luck whatever you choose!

Posted on 29 Jul 2011 09:55:02 BDT
E. Reddy says:
We had some flash cards given to us for times tables but typically the only child interested was my youngest who happens to be gifted at maths anyway. My youngest also likes us to do times tables on car journeys interspersed with i spy games which are great for making children think of what sound a word starts with. My children did like many of the fairy tale books produced by ladybird, I especially remember endless repeats of the one with the fox that catches the hen but then falls asleep and she gets out of the bag and puts stones in instead. Use your library so he can choose what he likes and make sure your son sees you reading for pleasure. I would avoid a tutor as it may make your son think he has a problem and will turn reading into work. If reading is cuddle up with a book time, with both of you doing some of the reading it is much more fun.

Posted on 29 Jul 2011 10:18:54 BDT
E. Reddy says:
Just remembered, when in the library you will find lots of books that are on a similar level to Dr Seuss. My children all loved the Berenstain Bear Books, not sure of the title but there is one about the father bear taking his son to find honey, as that is what bears do, and ending up buying it after things don't go to plan, and the P.D Eastman books such as Are you my mother? While I do not like reading schemes because the books tend to be dull, it is too easy for children to compare themselves to others and feel they are a failure if on a lower level, and the length and style of reading scheme books makes the transition to real book which are usually much longer daunting instead of fun, I do think the Cat in the Hat's Learning Library is great because it keeps learning to read fun. Do remember children develop at different rates, my oldest started year 1 on the lowest reading level and finished the year as a free reader. My daughter was the top reader in her school at the end of year 2 but then went off reading for a while.

Posted on 11 Aug 2011 00:16:04 BDT
He is reading an Oxford Learning Tree book. When he takes his time he can sound out the words its just putting all teh sounds together sometimes. The repetitiveness does seem to help a lot.

Posted on 13 Aug 2011 11:23:12 BDT
ian says:
Check out the free sample to see if these might be of some assistance. Hope the suggestion is of some benefit.Charlie Rabbit's Adventures - The Second Collection

Posted on 13 Aug 2011 17:29:19 BDT
juninhojorge says:
Hi KandiLush,

Can I send you a copy of my ebook called 'First Friend', so you can read it and see if it is something useful to read for your son? If you like it and he enjoys it, I can send you the paperback for free with no postage expenses.

Please, let me know either on here on send me an email to

Best Regards
Edinaldo Santo

Posted on 14 Aug 2011 18:04:07 BDT
My step son is 7 years old and he is autistic.

He loves reading The Jolly Postman.

Parts of the book (the little pull out stories mainly) can be a little difficult but the book in general is quite easy.

Not only that but your young one will love it and WANT to read it every night to himself.

Get yourself to a library and get it out before you buy it. I guarantee the young one will love it!

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Aug 2011 00:00:55 BDT
C. Pickup says:
What level Oxford Reading tree is he reading?

Posted on 16 Aug 2011 07:37:50 BDT
@ edinldo santos thank you for the offer. what is the book about. he has quite a few books

@ c. pickup his tutor has him reading stage 1. what we ae finding is that he can sound at all the words fine, he stumbles when it comes to blending the sounds together.
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Initial post:  21 Jul 2011
Latest post:  27 Jun 2012

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