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Suitable books for 4 year old?


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Initial post: 17 Apr 2012 21:51:29 BDT
I'm hoping for some inspiration for my daughter, who was four in January. She's desperate to learn to read but I'm really worried about her getting too far ahead of herself and then getting held back when she gets to school in September.
At the moment she can read Peter and Jane (Ladybird) books up to level 3 very fluently and she's also up to level 3 of the ORT Read at Home books, with a little help on some of the trickier words.
She's now getting a little bored with these books and wants something more but I have no idea what to give her. I have some of the Ladybird Read It Yourself stories but she finds them too simplified.
Any suggestions?

Posted on 18 Apr 2012 11:05:24 BDT
I would suggest you try some good, not too wordy picture books that she can try for herself e.g. Kipper Story Collection: "Kipper", "Kipper's Birthday", "Kipper's Toybox", "Kipper's Snowy Day". (You may already have some.) Then she could move on to something like Charlie and Lola: My Especially Busy Box of Books: Little Library.

You shouldn't have to worry about your child getting 'held back'. Any good school will not expect every child to read at the same level. They will assess them and level them appropriately. They will also check their phonic knowledge and comprehension. What is most important is that children read books appropriate to their understanding. The one danger with very good readers is that they run out of suitable reading material!

Posted on 18 Apr 2012 19:05:18 BDT
Thanks for the suggestions. We actually have all of those books already!

The reason I am worrying about school is because I could also read when I started school and I distinctly remember being sent to the head master because I refused to name letters phonetically, insisting instead on calling them by their proper names (as in, "what's this letter?" "gee" "no, it's guh" when the teacher was teaching us the alphabet). I found it extremely galling to be treated so horribly by the teacher and head master when I was right!

Posted on 18 Apr 2012 23:41:20 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Apr 2012 23:48:26 BDT
That does sound horrible! As a primary school teacher I can tell you that good modern practise is to teach the name and sound of letters and digraphs as both are used in reading and spelling. Good teachers will spot and encourage a child who can already read but also keep an eye out for any gaps in their knowledge. I can tell you that I would see these children as a blessing as readers usually also become writers and good across the curriculum!

Usborne books are very reasonable for younger children and cover fiction and non-fiction. Orion do an 'Early Reader' series which use good authors.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2012 15:34:31 BDT
Bevmac says:
Hi just a quick comment. My daughter is now 8 and a half. She is an excellent reader and has been since the age of 5. Her school would not allow her to read what she wanted but insisted that she read the Reading Tree levels 1- 13. In the end my hubby and I went to see the headmistress and insisted she be allowed to go further. She has been a free reader since then (age 6) and at 7 read Harry Potter. As a result her English and grammar and speech are very advanced. We still have battles weekly with school about her being held back but that is how modern schooling is. They want all children to follow the median curve.
My advice is to allow her to choose books for herself from an age appropriate selection. Find out what interests her and she will soon be reading fluently. Dont try to force her to read about things that dont interest her.

Posted on 19 Apr 2012 20:11:22 BDT
Mo says:
Most infant teachers will initially encourage all the children to read the same material and be introduced to phonics and reading at the same stage, mainly because teachers need a little time to learn about each child as a learner. However, most good teachers will notice the children who are grasping these initial learning experiences easily, and are excited to find children who can then be challenged. Most schools now assess each child on phonic knowledge and word attack skills etc. We now use a resource called PM Benchmarking which allows each child's reading skills to be assessed and graded individually. They can they use a 'book banded' approach to reading, with most commonly used reading schemes staged readers being grouped under colour bands. In my own class I have assessed all children and have offered each child a reading book which is at an instructional level for them personally, including one girl who was assessed as having an reading age 3 years older than her actual age. It's exciting, not annoying, but yes also challenging- that's the fun of teaching infant children! I would recommend, however, that you steer away from the type of books your daughter will receive in school, but encourage her love of books in itself. Try just browsing the picture books in your local library, and seeing what she is attracted to and encourage her to read 'real' books. Make it fun!

Posted on 23 Apr 2012 18:14:13 BDT
BM says:
Hi. My son could read before he started school and the school were brilliant at slotting him into the right level of the ORT and letting him move at his pace...We found the Early Readers section at our local library absolutely brilliant. There were books like
Are You My Mother? (Beginner Series)
which were great and which my children adored at this sort of age. There is also the Poppy and Sam / Apple Tree Farm series which is good...

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Apr 2012 19:07:55 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 Apr 2012 19:10:35 BDT
LEP says:
I'd advise not reading any more reading scheme books, but getting her picture books with a decent amount of reading in. Something like the Gruffalo, or Percy The Parkkeeper series, perhaps. Help her with words she doesn't know so she develops her reading by reading suitable stories. That will help nulify the boredem problem, the last thing you want is her bored with reading, reading should be fun.

Posted on 23 Apr 2012 20:44:16 BDT
She's been reading my old Meg and Mog books, which she really loves, but I think Julia Donaldson's books would be a bit of a stretch for her. She gets very frustrated if she can't read at least half of the words!

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Apr 2012 21:15:26 BDT
LEP says:
Try Percy the Park Keeper series, my son loved them. Then there's Spot, plus Elmer etc. Thomas the Tank Engine, Postman Pat etc. Little stories that she can more or less read.

Posted on 26 Apr 2012 10:41:31 BDT
Colin says:
There was a great author at the kids' nursery this week and they were raving about her. Her name is Lari Don and she was reading Orange Juice Peas to them. My two came home and acted out and the older one who is four took it to bed to read. Just ordered her others.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2012 12:21:51 BDT
I have just published a childrens book called The Tale of Sally Shrew available on Amazon today, my daughter always loved reading animal stories and I have written this book inspired by her love of animals, and this book has lovely pictures, it may inspire your daughter too.

Jane Claire Morris

Posted on 27 Apr 2012 14:22:18 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 18 May 2013 12:50:51 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2012 13:54:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Apr 2012 13:57:21 BDT
CN says:
I think that your daughter should know the phonetic sounds and use them when trying to say new words. They are an essential tool in the development of reading.

Our house is full of books for children of all ages, because we don't throw anything away. So our various grandchildren pick up and enjoy the level they are comfortable with.

We have bought packs/series of childrens' books from the Red House and the Book people for very good value prices. Famous fairy stories and legends, Thomas the Tank yes for girls, and stories about revolting things, lol. Factual books on animals, the seaside, science, famous people, places and another challenge. Richard "Scary"? books were always popular and absorbing. Michael Morpurgo has written several books for under 7's. A visit to the library where she can choose a few books and return them read or unread 2 weeks later is a way of discovering what interests her at the moment.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2012 20:12:13 BDT
Bevmac says:
CN I agree with you. Our house is the same. We have 3 kids and therefore books of all ages. We never throw them out and all 3 kids have bookshelves. Our old dining room is full of shelves and we have boxes of books in the garage.

My four year old is enjoying Mog the cat, Princess Evie and her ponies, Octonauts, Gruffalo and other Donaldson books plus loads more.

Posted on 29 Apr 2012 12:07:41 BDT
Merv Lambert says:
Does your child like stories about penguins and animals in general? If so, please try my stories about the animals of Videoville, There are 3 ebooks called 'Parapenguins', 'The Hatopotamus', and 'The Gunhen' with several stories in each. I would be very grateful for any comments and/or reviews. Yours sincerely, Merv Lambert.

Posted on 30 Apr 2012 21:37:14 BDT
JFK says:
Is it wrong to try the dr seuss books, mine all love green eggs and ham and fox in socks. They are great to check that they are sounding out and not just recognising the words. My eldest now 7 initially was a very reluctant reader as insisted on sounding out everything even if the word was repeated on each page, but is now reading HarryP. My second who is now in reception is exactly the opposite and sees the words as pictures and hates sounding out, so these books have been great for both of them and gets them enjoying the nonsense of it all which their 2 year old sister loves to hear.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2012 22:16:59 BDT
CN says:
No it isn't wrong. Any way to help a child enjoy words, pictures and the reading expereince is great. People who say there is a right and a wrong way to learn how to read are being arrogant or presumptious. In schools the only right and wrong way will be down to the reading scheme the headteacher has decided to buy.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2012 23:11:30 BDT
She does know her phonics, and reads new words by using them and blending sounds.
We love visiting the library and choosing new books to read. In fact I think if I left without her, my daughter wouldn't notice for about a week!
Richard Scarry books are a huge hit in our house. We have both my husband and my old ones that we all read at bedtime, and some new ones too. His pictures are so funny and great to discuss together.
Are the Michael Morpuro ones picture books? I know he writes for older children , I didn't know that he wrote for younger ones too.
I think I might try some Dr Seuss books, she loves to rhyme!

In reply to an earlier post on 1 May 2012 12:44:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 May 2012 12:56:51 BDT
LEP says:
I'm not sure if Morpurgo's books have pictures in them, not the older ones that I've seen/read. Try Dick King-Smith's books instead, although I don't think that they are picture books as such, they are chapter books. But great stories.

Try Jill Tomlinson - The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark (and her other stories)
Martin Waddell - Owl Babies
and also Jill Murphy's books.
The above are all illustrated.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2012 11:13:30 BDT
cjbennett says:
You could try Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad seriesor Mo Willems Elephant and Piggie series, M.P. Robertson's "Food Chain' a recent pbk also springs to mind. but there are many many picture books that are suitable once you have shared them first of course. But very important, don't labour them.
JB

Posted on 2 May 2012 13:06:42 BDT
read this aloud to her

The Adventures of Caitlin Haq

Posted on 2 May 2012 14:47:41 BDT
I know you are probably going to think me very old fashioned, but my Dad read a chapter of 'Winnie The Pooh' to me and my brother every night and gave all the characters different voices. I'm 43 now, and I remember as though it was yesterday how wonderful every bedtime was. In fact, I learnt to read and write before I went to school at 4 and a 1/2 because I so desperately wanted to read this lovely book for myself.

Pooh also has some funny little rhymes that still make me giggle even now!

I prefer the original version though by AA Milne and EH Shepard and not the modern americanised version. I see that you can browse through it here so perhaps you could try reading out a bit and see if she is interested - it may not be for her, and so it would save the cost of buying it first.

I treasure my childhood copy which I have been reading to our 5 year old neighbour and have been delighted to find she adores it as much as I did at her age.

Best Wishes x suzysunshine7 x

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2012 17:17:58 BDT
CN says:
I think that's a great suggestion. The original words and drawings are much better than the later wisney versions.

Posted on 2 May 2012 19:19:27 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 2 May 2012 19:20:21 BDT]
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Initial post:  17 Apr 2012
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