Sunday, 16 December 2012

Books for difficult customers

MrM has a friend who has asked about books for a seven year old boy, who speaks English as a second language. I've been musing over this for a few days.  I am the proud "owner" of a nearly seven-year old boy, who has discerning tastes.  If he decides he doesn't like something, it is dismissed summarily and without discussion.  Small boys are extremely discerning customers.

Here are the results of my musings:

Picture books should not be dismissed.  Lots of them appeal to an older audience.  The Pigeon books by Mo Willems are still loved by both of my children, as are the Scaredy Squirrel and Chester series by Melanie Watt.

I also find tailoring books to interests helpful.  Books about Star Wars and Lego always go down well here.  A particularly brilliant find was the Lego Ideas Book, which is currently on sale for a fraction of the RRP from the Book People.

Books for older children in a cartoony style might be a good plan, so that the pictures might help to cover any vocab gaps there might be for a child with English as a second language.  A loved the Henry's House series by the brilliant Philip Ardagh, and both children have loved the Sam's Science series by Kate Rowan.

Finally, although Beast Quest has fallen out of favour here, it might be a good one for parents to read aloud.  Lots of challenging vocab, and the added glamour of collector cards, which seem to answer some kind of primal need to collect in the psyche of the small boy.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

A wonderful teaching moment.

I have lost track of the amount of times I've heard "I hate reading", or "oh no, it's reading!" or "this book is BORING!" or other variations of these phrases.  Today I've been reading The Hunger Games with Year 10.  We have been reading it since September, and today we reached the start of the games.  When the bell went, we had just reached the part where Katniss is looking through her backpack and thinking about making camp for the first night.  A cry went up of "Oh, you can't leave it there!  Keep reading!"  A wonderful experience.  OK, The Hunger Games might not be Shakespeare; but for reading to be seen as something that is actually desirable is a step in the right direction.