The Ultimate List Of Books For Children of All Ages – Teacher Recommended Books For Children By Age


My teenage son reads every day but given the choice, he would rather read “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” over and over again.  It seems as if reading is work for him so he chooses easy books to read instead. Nothing wrong with that but this article got me thinking and worrying.  It highlights that teenagers are selecting “easier reads” when choosing books rather than more challenging classics.  As a consequence they are seriously struggling with English.

I’ve noticed a lack of quality reading in my students too.  Read more, read every day, read challenging books, read, read, read…This is a mantra I teach my students to help them become competent readers and writers.  You can tell if a child is a keen reader from their writing.  Reading helps with imagination and flare and children are more aware of literary devices.  Children who don’t read enough often have writing which is “wooden” and doesn’t flow.  There is a lack of vivid vocabulary, poor sentence structure and it fails to keep the reader interested.

So to encourage my students to read, I have introduced an extended reading programme at my centre for all pupils on our english programmes.  This is a list of recommended authors and their books which are literary classics.  All the authors on the list have won prizes for their books and are likely to be used by schools on their reading lists.  Children aim to read at least 6 books a year and after each book they have to do an extended writing task.  This could be something as simple as summarising the book or ceating an alternative book cover.  The idea is that it makes the student think deeply about the book.  The activities also tie in with the national curriculum and provide an oppportunity to do a longer piece of writing.

The reading lists are for year 1 to year 9 and roughly arranged according to the reading age.  Just let your child choose the book they want to read.

Click here to download our free guide to year 1 books.

Click here to download our free guide to year 2 books.

Click here to download our free guide to year 3 books.

Click here to download our free guide to year 4 books.

Click here to download our free guide to year 5 books.

Click here to download our free guide to year 6 books.

Click here to download our free guide to year 7 books.

Year 7 reading list

Click here to download our free guide to year 8 books.

year 8 reading list

Click here to download our free guide to year 9 books.

year 9 reading list

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My 4 Tips To Get The Most From The Summer Reading Challenge


{65456BD4-7E1E-4B08-A849-0005CECAAC78}_summer-readingThe summer reading challenge is a scheme happening in libraries all over the country and is designed to encourage children to read over the long summer break.  It has been proven that children actually fall back academically during the 6 week break and one of the easiest ways of keeping on top of things is to get children reading.

Children taking part in it are encouragement to complete it by getting rewards and stickers.  They have to read 6 or more books to complete the challenge.  Parents love the scheme as a visit to the library is a free day out and it is educational.  I think that without the challenge, the libraries would be dead!

So every year on the first day of the summer holidays I take the kids to the library to take part in the summer reading challenge and I have been doing this not just with my own kids but nephews, nieces and friends’ children as well.  That’s the joys of being a teacher; everyone wants you to take their children to the library because you should know what you are doing.

I’ve picked up a few good ideas along the way, and you can use all or some of these as you wish.

1.  Have a List of Authors

I have a list of authors who are either recommended authors for texts used in schools or who have won prizes for their books.  This ensures that your children reading quality works and not just nonsense.

2.  Don’t Pick The First Book You See.

Take your time at the library and pick more books than you need.  Then go through each book and choose the best ones.  Teach your child how to choose a good book by reading the summary on the back cover or by reading the first page.  If they like the first page, they should like the rest.

3.  Read The Books Your Child Reads.

This is especially effective to get reluctant readers to talk about their books and take more interest.  They will begin to see that books can entertain just like movies.  When I was at the library there was little girl returning her books, and the librarian asked her about every book even though she had not read them herself.  When I asked the librarian why she had done that, she said that it made the children choose more books and come back and tell her all about them.

4.  Write About The Books.

After reading you could get your child to write a review or simply just to score it out of 10.  You can write online reviews and add it onto the book list on the summer reading challenge website too.

I will be posting some other written tasks you can do after reading a book on this blog.  I will also be posting the list of authors on this blog too.  So please join my mailing list if you would like to be notified.

Gareth Malone’s Extraordinary School for Boys


It’s been entertaining watching Gareth Malone trying to teach literacy to this group of primary school boys based in a school in Essex.  

His target was to raise the reading age of boys.  In the first programme he teaches them how to debate, when most of them can’t even construct a logical argument.  In the second programme he teaches them the love for books and reading and in the final episode he tackles writing. 

At first glance it looks like the boys aren’t learning anything and that Gareth is a bad teacher. He’s not textbook, and he has made some classic mistakes like all trainee teachers but eventually he does get through to the boys.  His methods are totally against what is dictated to school teachers because he makes learning fun.  He makes it relevant to the boys’ interests and he praises their smallest achievements.  A lot of these techniques are what I use with my students. 

I encourage the children to try a new way of working out a maths problem, I encourage them to take many small steps to reach their targets and I encourage them to believe in themselves.  Yet I don’t hold their hand and confine them to their desks.  I use a variety of learning materials (including computers) and teach them how to work independently.  That way they feel a sense of achievement through their own efforts. 

But my parting questions are:

Why has a qualified professional teacher not helped him yet? Why is he not receiving additional input to better his reading skills? Perhaps the teachers haven’t noticed and have just labelled him lazy? Why has it taken a TV personality to come in to the school to notice this?