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Developing Reading Skills
What to read

It is never too early to start reading to your children.

Although very young children will ask you to read the same story again and again, you can encourage them to read different books by following their favourite characters through a series of stories.

Since all of the pictures in a series are usually drawn by the same illustrator, you may also find that they are willing to move onto a new series of books because they have become familiar with a style of illustration.

Some of the most popular series for young children are Meg and Mog, Mog the Forgetful Cat and Dr. Seuss' books, which have very distinctive drawings.

Developing reading skills

As your children get older, they may still enjoy the security offered by series of books such as The Famous Five, Dr. Judy Moody or The Ghosthunters.

Once they have started to read independently, you can encourage them to read a variety of genres.

An easy way to encourage your children to enjoy a range of storylines and learn new vocabulary, is to follow authors such as Chris d'Lacey or Shirley Hughes who write about a variety of themes.

Buying books for your children

Don't feel overwhelmed when you visit a large bookshop.

Most bookshops arrange their children's books in age ranges such as 5-8, 9-12 and teenage fiction. This makes it easier to find books appropriate to your children's interest and reading levels.

Sometimes, the front covers of fiction books for older children can be deceptive so read the blurb on the back cover to make sure that they are appropriate.

Small bookshops may also be able to offer a more personalised service and by going in from time to time, you can build up a relationship with the staff.

Make it a point to visit your bookshop regularly, even if you don't buy anything.

Just seeing the new books will help to maintain your child's interest in reading and raise your awareness of new authors.
0-4: Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr

Mog is always in trouble for her forgetfulness but one night her forgetfulness is very handy!

5-6: Penguin by Polly Dunbar

Ben is delighted when he finds a penguin inside his present but Penguin doesn't say anything until a passing lion intervenes and Ben discovers something that was really worth the wait.

7-8: The Wind on the Moon by Eric Linklater

A topsy-turvy fantasy about two naughty sisters and their amazing adventures that begin in the village of Midmeddlecum and continue on the other side of the English Channel.

9-10: The Fire Eternal by Chris d'Lacey

It has been five years since David disappeared but as the weather changes, everyone is drawn to the North and wonders what will happen to his daughter, Alexa...

11-13: Bec: Screams in the Dark by Darren Shan

Bec is struggling to fit into a tribe that needs her skills but fears her powers. As the fight turns into a war, she confronts the Demonata but the final conflict demands a horrific sacrifice.

14-16: A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd

After the death of her mother, Shell is left to take care of her younger brother and sister and her drunken father. Eventually she turns to someone else for support and tries to hold her family together.

17 and over: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Mariam, a young Afghan woman is married off to one of her father's friends after her mother dies. She and his other wife survive by having faith in each other.

Keeping them going...
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