Posted in B'Twixt (6-8)

5 Interesting Books Your 6-8 Year Old Absolutely Needs to Read

Middle childhood is an exciting time. At this age, children are starting to be more independent, forming friendships and becoming more aware of other people’s feelings. They are also starting to understand more complex grammar and according to scholastic.com, this is the age where a lot of children become true readers. A lot of basic skills necessary for reading are developed here. With the early morning rush trying to get everyone out of the house on time and an evening consumed by making sure homework is done, it can become a challenge trying to fit some reading time in. No fears, however, as research shows as little as 20 minutes reading every day can make a marked difference in children’s reading abilities and overall literacy skills. In today’s post, we review 5 books that have caught the heart of children all over the world and are sure to get your child fired up about reading!

  1. The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka

3 little pigs  Rating: 4/5 gold star

This is a story I believe both boys and girls will enjoy. It is also a good book for slightly older reluctant readers. In this hysterically funny tale, we learn the wolf’s side of the famous story of The Three Little Pigs and to hear the wolf tell it, he’s been framed! The whole thing is apparently just a big misunderstanding. While this is a good book on its own, I believe it is even better when you already know the story of The Three Little Pigs. The illustrations could be more colourful but what is lacking in colour is more than made up for by the story. This is a great book to read with your child not only because there is a huge range of activities you can do together based on this book (check these sites for ideas  Scholastic Teaching Heart ), but also because it is a great way to introduce or reinforce the concept of looking at things from another person’s point of view.

Where to get it:   Sytris Books (Ghana)      Amazon UK     Penguin Random House        Discover Books

2. Clarice Bean, That’s Me! by Lauren Child

Clarice Bean Rating: 3.5/5 gold star

Clarice Bean is your average little girl…if your average little girl is feisty, funny and in search of a little peace and quiet. Having to share a room with her annoying little brother in a house that is always full of people (including an uncle, a grandad, a cousin and somehow the plumber), it’s no wonder Clarice must resort to somewhat extreme measures in order to get a little peace and quiet. Full of colourful illustrations and very vivid descriptions, Lauren Child paints a bright picture of what life is like when you have a huge family. Full disclaimer, though, some parents were not too impressed by some of the behaviours described in the book and Clarice’s final tactic in her bid for a little peace. Personally, I believe that these scenes could pave the way for discussions with your child on the best way to behave when you’re upset. This book might work better for readers 7+ years old as the text is a little scattered and relatively small compared to the images. There is a range of delightful activities you can do together, see these sites for ideas Teaching English    mylearning.org)

Where to get it:   Sytris Books (Ghana)      Amazon UK          Book Depository

3. The Dinosaur Who Lost His Roar by Russel Punter

Dinosaur Who Lost His Roar  Rating: 5/5 gold star

This is a great book for both reluctant readers and for children who already love to read. I fell in love with the vibrant colours used for the illustrations. The repeated roars were an added bonus because let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good roar every now and then. Sid likes to have a bit of fun scaring his friends until one day, he loses his roar. He wakes up the next day to find his friends in terrible danger. He might just be able to save them, if only his roar is back. This book is great for readers who love dinosaurs and is a great favourite among both boys and girls. For fun activity ideas, check out Preschool Express.

Where to get it: Amazon UK   Book Depository

 

Anansi

4. Anansi and the Bag of Wisdom by Lesley Sims and Alida Massari

Rating: 4/5 gold star

If you are African or Caribbean, then you might well be familiar with Anansi’s shenanigans. In this retelling of the traditional African tale, Anansi gets a gift from god and in very Anansi fashion, decides to do the exact opposite of what he is meant to do with his gift. This book is part of Usborne books’ first reading level one. It is designed for reading with very light support and contains lots of colourful illustrations and minimal text. This makes it perfect for readers who are still mastering the art of independent reading. As an added bonus, the kindle edition (and possibly the hardcover edition) come with reading-related puzzles which means you can do a fun activity right after reading without having to search!

Where to get it: Amazon UK        Book Depository

 

goldilocks

5. Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Russell Punter

Rating: 4/5 gold star

We finish today’s post with a classic. This retelling by Russell Punter gives a bit more of a back story to Goldilocks, and there is quite a lesson learned at the end of the book! Goldilocks is a naughty little girl that lives with her mother and father near a forest. While on an errand for her mother, she forgets her promise to be good and goes exploring. She discovers an empty cottage with bowls of porridge and helps herself, little knowing the cottage belongs to a family of three bears. This book is part of Usborne’s First Reading Series and being a level 4 book, it is perfect for readers that are ready for a bit more of a challenge. There is more text on each page but the text is a good size and is accompanied by a beautiful illustration, striking a good balance. For some wonderful activity ideas, check this site out scholastic.com.

Where to get it: Amazon UK           Book Depository

(Sytris Books has other versions of the Goldilocks story by different authors.)

This is where we leave today’s edition of creating enthusiastic bookworms.  Drop an email to midori.ghana@gmail.com if you live in Ghana and would like help with purchasing any of these books.
(Header image by JuhFernandes)

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Posted in B'Twixt (6-8), Teens (13+), Tweens (9-12)

Children’s E-readers, 6 Reasons Why They Are A Fantastic Idea!

If you are a book lover like me, it might be pretty disheartening to see the kind of damage that can happen when kids and books collide. You want your children to read, but is there any way that they can without a resultant loss of (book) lives? Thankfully, the answer is yes! It is entirely possible to get children reading without the accompanying heartbreak from torn pages, wet pages, missing covers and the like. That’s not the only advantage, there are several others.

1. They can access their full library with one click!

Amazing right? Yes, you do lose the sensation of the book beneath your fingers as you turn each page but, isn’t being able to carry all their books with you whenever you leave home an ace compromise? Having all their books available in one place means no longer having to decide what book to take along in case they get bored. A lot of reading apps also have the page-flipping setting which means even if you don’t feel it, you do get to see the pages flip. Revisiting a favourite book is also very easy and you can re-read all your child’s favourites with just a few clicks!

2. They are way more hardy

Like I mentioned earlier, much as I love them, one of the disadvantages of paper books is how easy it is for them to get destroyed. Take your eye off things and it could be shredsville in a matter of minutes. Which is fine, the first or second time but after that doesn’t your heart (and your pocket) break a little each time? The amazing thing about e-readers is if you use apps like the kindle or nook you can access your books from any smart device :). This means in the unlikely event that anything happens to your e-reader your books are all there, ready to read.

3. It is easy to purchase a new book

Let’s face it, there are not a lot of places in Ghana where you can get a wide variety of children’s books to buy. The few available also may not be as close to you as is convenient. E-book readers mean no longer having to make time to drive to the bookstore. You can access a wide array of new books in minutes and save going to the shop for days when you are actually in the neighbourhood.

4. You can look up hard words while reading

No need to search for the dictionary (or fumble through explanations when you know the meaning but you just can’t put words to it)! Apps like the amazon kindle make it easy to look up words while reading. This means you can buy slightly advanced books for your child without worrying that they will be put off by the harder words. As an added bonus you can also increase or decrease the font to a size your child is more comfortable with.

5. Dum-Sor or No, You can Still Read

With the constant power cuts also known as dum sor, an E-reader is a fantastic way to keep the momentum going with your child’s reading. E-readers tend to have longer staying power than regular smartphones which means with a full charge you can get between 2 and 3 days (depending on what other apps you’re using, screen brightness etc.) of reading, dum-sor or not.

6. Free Books 😉

We saved the best for last! With e-readers, it is much easier to take advantage of free books and e-book deals offered by big book retailers. I have found that free books can be an amazing way to discover fantastic new authors you may otherwise never have tried. With sites like BookBub offering great deals for bestselling e-books, it’s a simple matter of entering your email address to find yourself in a whole new world of books. Not just for them (your child) but for Mummy and Daddy too!

That’s it, our top 6 reasons why an e-reader for your child is a terrific idea! This does not mean you should totally rule out paper books, they have their own advantages and you should definitely stock a few, whenever you get the chance. It’s just, why not make life a little easier if you can? 🙂

Watch out for the follow-up to this post What Type Of E-reader Is Best For My Child?

Posted in B'Twixt (6-8), Pre-tweens, Teens (13+), Tikes (3-5), Tots (0-2), Tweens (9-12)

Why Children Should Read

Reading has many benefits and yet even as adults, it is not an easy habit to maintain. From long, stressful hours at work to the demands of parenting it can become very easy to fall into the habit of going months without actually reading anything for leisure. Sadly, it is almost as easy for children to fall into this pattern too, often associating reading with boredom because of all the text they are required to read for school. In spite of this, it is absolutely essential for children to read and the points below outline some of the reasons why.

  1. It is useful in the classroom: reading at home exposes children to new ideas. This means your child gets to learn new information in a relaxed setting the more they read. Also, reading skills improve with practice. This means the more your child reads, the better they get at it! Finally, reading increases your child’s capacity to learn. This is indeed good news for their academic life because it means they read and learn better in class and also are equipped with all the extra information they learn while reading at home.
  2. It increases their vocabulary: the more your child reads, the more new words they encounter therefore expanding their vocabulary. Reading also teaches children the importance of language, helps them to better master language and develop better communication skills. This helps children to be more articulate and therefore better able to express their ideas.
  3. It helps to develop their imagination: reading paints pictures of other people and places in the mind. This is why book fans often feel let down when their favourite book is made into a movie- the movie often does not match up to their imagination. While reading, your mind creates a picture of what characters and the setting look like, helping you to better identify with the characters and the book. A good book can transport children (and everyone else) to new worlds where really anything is possible, stimulating their imagination. Reading also exercises the brain and has been found to increase cognitive abilities https://spark.adobe.com/page/3Kjzy/
  4. It strengthens your bond: Reading to your young child is a terrific way to bond with them. When children are younger and have not yet acquired skills to read on their own, snuggling together to read a book is a fantastic way to get closer. It, first of all, gives you time with them away from all the running around that is their day and also teaches them the basics of reading. As children grow older, it is still important to make time to read together. With their acquisition of reading skills, you can make reading even more fun by taking turns to read or each reading as your favourite character in the book. This has the added benefit of drawing your child even further into the book, making reading time an adventure each and every time.

Reading has many other benefits (for everyone) like better writing skills and memory improvement to name a few. Hopefully, the reasons above are enough to get you started on the journey to turning your children into bookworms.

(Header image Zoey reading by JennRene Owens)