Reading lists for early readers

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Curated by our experts here at Scholastic, our reading lists for early readers will help nurture a love of reading and set them on their reading journey for life!

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Nurturing our early readers is essential and what better way to start them on their lifelong love of reading than providing them with engaging books that they cherish reading. Our wonderful reading lists are designed to help children move on from picture books without even noticing, gently building up their confidence.

Our top tips for building confidence in early readers:
  • Give it time – there’s a fine line between giving encouragement and applying pressure. As much as possible, allow early readers to move at their own pace and don’t push them too hard or you risk putting them off completely.
  • Allow re-reading – if early readers wish to read the same book again and again, try not to instantly dismiss this as an option. Re-reading a story will help build up confidence in early readers, meaning they are more likely to be open to the introduction of new books and a little gentle persuasion.
  • Manage expectations – over confident early readers may expect to read whole books at a time, leading to impatience, or feel that they can read anything which creates the risk of them reading higher level text without understanding it. This is when boredom with reading can set in and it becomes off-putting. Without damaging the confidence of early readers, try to manage their expectations by encouraging them to think about reading as a treat which can be enjoyed for long and short periods of time. Highlight the fact that books are so wonderful due to the fact they can be paused and returned to at any time. Help to keep early readers focused on books suitable for their age-range, with appealing themes and genres that will hook them in and maintain their interest.
  • Encourage perseverance – early readers can easily be discouraged if they are stumbling on lots of tricky words, making slow progress, struggling to follow the plot, etc. Developing an early reader’s perseverance will ensure they don’t give up when facing a challenging read. Help by asking them to write the tricky words in a reading journal so you can discuss their meaning – highlight how wonderful it is to be learning so many new words (if they didn’t stumble on these while reading their book, they wouldn’t have learnt them yet!). Talk about the book and ask them to recount the story so far, drawing attention to how much they know and understand from their reading progress – focus on the sense of achievement and that they just need to keep going, soon they will know the whole story…and the ending!
  • Keep a steady pace – children will already know that they should be reading every day (for a minimum of 15-20 minutes at home, as well as the reading they do at school). Inevitably, some early readers will race ahead and this should never be discouraged. However, the amount of time spent reading or a fast reading pace does not automatically mean a child is ready to tackle higher level texts. Make sure you don’t allow fast or dedicated early readers to jump ahead before they are ready. For for early readers making slower progress, try to keep them motivated to maintain a steady pace of reading so they will see their progression through a book for themselves and notice how well they are getting through it. Some children may appreciate the metaphor of climbing a mountain – at first you feel like you’ll never make it to the top, but if you just keep walking at a steady pace and enjoy the views, before you know it you’ll arrive at the top!
  • Give them choice – while books of a suitable level need to be provided for early readers, it’s important they feel they are choosing a book for themselves which appeals to their interests and personality. Ensure your book ranges offer a wide selection of genres and non-fiction, as well as appealing to the different interests of your class.
  • Build stamina – keep in mind that most early readers will need to build up their reading stamina. Try to stretch out reading time as the school year goes on, you may wish to display a timer on the board so children can see how much more they are able to read at a time.
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