As a mom to an advanced reader, I know the problems it can pose for parents of kids who are emotionally still young but need the challenge of more advanced reading. Jackson is now old enough to handle more advanced themes but the last few years have been quite the adventure in reading. Here is my reading list and tips for young advanced readers.
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In grade two my son was assessed at fully adult literate.
Let that sink in for a moment. My 7 year old tested above the level of an 18 year old for his ability to read and comprehend what he was reading.
We were getting him tested because of a severe anxiety disorder and suddenly things made sense. He was understanding the world at a level far beyond his years.
While his classmates were stumbling through picture books he wanted to read The Hobbit. But here’s the issue, just because he CAN read more advanced books, doesn’t mean he’s ready for the advanced themes of those books.
It’s a situation that can be very difficult to navigate since gifted children are often also very sensitive and can comprehend things they are simply not emotionally ready for. This was our struggle, to challenge my son and encourage his love of reading without scaring him or triggering is anxiety.
We found non-fiction to be a wonderful solution. He could fill his mind up with all sorts of new information and read lots of challenging text, but we were able to keep the themes appropriate for him.
Another thing we did was write a book together. Together we wrote a chapter book and he also went off on his own and wrote a number of graphic novels. We published that chapter book and he loves reading it over and over again while planning book number two.
Using an eReader has become a big blessing with Jackson for a number of reasons. The biggest one is that he is reading books that are too big for him to comfortably hold (Harry Potter anyone?). Another great thing with eReaders is that we can usually get books a little cheaper than the physical copy and we can get instant delivery, including from our library. Having books instantly available is really handy some days with my boy that can plow through over 200 pages in an afternoon! We still love physical books and that is always our preference, but there has definitely been a time and place for using the eReader.
The best part is that you don’t need to buy an eReader, you can download a free app and read Kindle books on any device. Amazon has this nifty link that should take you directly to your appropriate download site if you click it while on your device. Check it out! Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices
Another program Amazon offers is Kindle Unlimited. This program helps me keep new books in my son’s hands as fast as he can read them! You can get your first month free to try the program here: Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans
Here are a few of our favourite book titles for when my son was in the 4 to 7 year old range. Sadly a number of the Usborne ones we loved are no longer in print, but if you find any second hand books from the old Usborne Science Reader series, we loved those ones too!:
Most of the books above are the beginning in a series, so once my son started I could just keep supplying new books from the series. This makes my life much easier! I also want to touch on the Todd Parr books, my son loved these books! No, they are not hard to read, they are colourful and fun. The reason he loved them is because they got him thinking about lots of really important concepts he doesn’t see in other books, including different types of families, how to protect our planet, and how it’s okay to make mistakes or be different. These books have lead to so many wonderful and deep discussions.
If you can’t find the Usborne Science books my youngest son is also really enjoying National Geographic readers. It combines science topics that get him thinking, but are appropriate for young minds.
National Geographic Readers: PlanetsNational Geographic Readers: WeatherNational Geographic Readers: Rocks and MineralsNational Geographic Readers: ElephantsNational Geographic Readers: BeesNational Geographic Readers: RobotsNational Geographic Readers: Weird Sea CreaturesNational Geographic Readers: Cats vs. DogsNational Geographic Readers: Sea TurtlesVolcanoes! (National Geographic Readers)National Geographic Readers: Sharks! (Science Reader Level 2)National Geographic Readers: MonkeysNational Geographic Readers: Penguins!National Geographic Readers: Great Migrations WhalesNational Geographic Readers: Seed to PlantNational Geographic Readers: TrainsNational Geographic Readers: PoniesNational Geographic Readers: MeteorsNational Geographic Readers: HalloweenNational Geographic Readers: Storms!
Innovative stories that weave complex topics into their narrative are excellent for young advanced readers. These books have the additional benefit of vibrant and interesting illustrations. Highly recommended for your young advanced readers.
How to Survive as a SharkHow to Survive as a FireflySemicolons, Cupcakes, and CucumbersMossby’s Magic Carpet Handbook: A Flyer’s Guide to Mossby’s Model D3 Extra-Small Magic Carpet (Especially for Young or Vertically Challenged People)The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: the Story of Dr. Temple Grandin (Amazing Scientists)The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: the Story of Dr. Patricia Bath (Amazing Scientists)
We recently discovered an amazing new series that is perfect for young advanced readers. Zoey and Sassafras are definitely books worth checking out for young readers.
One of my biggest tips is to ensure you are still reading with your child. We curl up together and read our books side by side. Being there with him means he can ask me any questions and I can help him with any new ideas or difficult themes as he comes across them. We’ve had some wonderful discussions this way. Plus, we are sharing our love of literature and it’s one of my favourite moments every day. One day I’m going to really miss curling up with my little reading buddy.
I hope all of these tips help! Happy reading!
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