I AM a really avid reader, I go through one or two a week most weeks, and my eldest lady is turning out much the same. At nine she is rarely without a book in her hand, and it is such a joy to see.
My second lady is in Senior Infants and I do find it can be a tricky age group (between around six to eight years) to get the right book for. They are obviously still learning how to read, yet there is a bit of a disconnect between what their imagination is ready for and where their reading level is at.
I have watched my lady get frustrated with books because the progress can be slow when they are sounding out so many words. I have seen her walk away from books, understandably so, because she can’t keep up the pace and simply loses interest out of sheer frustration.
There is a delicate balance at this age between giving them a book they can grasp and enjoy and giving them one that ends up exasperating them and putting them off reading for a while. I set about making it my mission recently to try and fill her hands with early readers that would capture her attention but also inspire her to read and not frustrate her.
It probably goes without saying but it is worth sitting down with them to help them at the start to get into the flow of reading these early reader chapter books.
I can’t take full credit for all these suggestions because I asked on my social media and these were the answers that came flooding in from other mums, so they are tried and tested by many others, not just me! Nor can I take full credit for the reviews because these come courtesy of my seven-year-old.
I’ve ranked them in order of how she enjoyed them, but this is also a good order to read them in because, practically speaking, she started with the easiest to read and went on from there.
All of the following books are part of a series, we have a couple from each to get started but it’s nice that if they hit on a series that grabs their attention, they can read more.
First things first, her absolute favourite book was from the Horrid Henry series. These are the perfect early reader — the chapters are only a couple of pages long with not much text in them and they have a nice selection of pictures throughout to support the written word. And Henry is so naughty, my children just love him (me not so much!) but the books are fun, light-hearted and a great place to start if you are trying to capture the attention of a roguish child.
Dogman and Captain Underpants are two different series written by the same author Dav Pikey.
Dogman is written like a comic book so it has lots of colour and pictures and my lady really gravitated towards this style. Captain Underpants has a good mixture of normal text and the comic book style of Dogman so we found it good to start with Dogman and move onto Captain Underpants after.
Sophie Kinsella is an Irish author who writes predominantly for adults, and she has a lovely series of books called Mummy Fairy and Me. There are four books in the series and the chapters are a lovely length, easy to read and with nice illustrations throughout. A great place to start reading a predominately text-based book.
Rainbow Magic is a series by Daisy Meadows that nicely introduces some STEM topics to children across the titles Aisha the Astronaut Fairy, Orla the Inventor Fairy, Annie the Detective Fairy and Elsie the Engineer Fairy. There are lots of other books in the series too, they are short and the chapters a nice length.
Isadora Moon is a series of books about a girl who is half vampire, half fairy. The chapters are a little longer than the aforementioned books, so when reading proficiency is a little better, these are perfect. Lovely books though, beautifully presented and so far a big hit here.
Holly Webb has a huge series of books published, again these are a little longer and contain fewer pictures so something to aim for after conquering a few of the easier series (I think anyway!). All of her books centre around puppies and kittens and are generally sad stories with happy endings.