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My DS8 is advanced in math and other areas and he reads out loud to me challenging books very well in the morning at a good speed and with good verbal skills.  He has been doing evening reading time for 40 minutes for the past 9 months by himself.  I noticed he reads through books at an amazing rate and I just attributed that to his giftedness.  I would occasionally ask him what a book was about and he would tell me something or the general theme and I thought all was well.  I've been recently getting longer books for the evening reading that should have taken longer for him to read.  I noticed that he went through about 10 of them in a few days and this just didn't seem possible, so I asked him today... was he reading all of the words in the books?  Well, no, he isn't and he hasn't been for a long time.  He said he just reads a few words on a page and goes on.  He said its because electronics make his brain not want to read.  He only does gaming on the weekends, not during the school week but still he's using this as his excuse as why his brain just can't read a book anymore.  He said all he wants to do is be gaming or on the computer.

I don't know how long this has been going on and I don't know what to do now.  Should I have him go back and re-read the hundred or so books?  Should I have him read out loud?  Please, any help or advice, thank you.

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DD10 reads very quickly as well. He’s reading mostly for “plot” and not for details. He has never attributed this as a side effect of screen time, but he does have ADHD, so I wouldn’t the surprised if screen time played into things. (I find myself less able to focus on print media due to screen time, and I’m an adult!). To get around this, I have a list of required lit that we read through together, slowly and methodically, through the year. These are the titles that I’ll ask for narrations, or ask him comprehension questions, or over which we’ll have deeper discussions. All the rest, I let him do his own thing. He reads broadly for pleasure - yes, “too quickly,” in my estimation, but at least he’s reading and reading broadly. 

ETA:

If I made him read all his books out loud, that would be a reading-enjoyment-killer for sure. You do want him to still enjoy reading :).  I would make a list of books to read through together slowly. You can get discussion guides (there are many free ones online, or you can buy them from Progeny Press or Memoria Press) and go through them together.  The way this looks in our house:

at age 8, we were still buddy reading. Here I did have him read out loud, but only every other paragraph (i read alternate paragraphs out loud), one chapter at a time, and only for the books that were on my list. In practice, that meant reading out loud together from one book per day.  I’d stop and ask him to narrate, or assess comprehension, as we went.

Now at Age 10, we still sit together with the book in front of us, but we each read silently. At the end of each chapter, we go through a handful of comprehension and discussion questions verbally. Sometimes I make up my own, sometimes I use Memoria Press guides.

Edited by JHLWTM
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Is there a reason you are trying to get him to read challenging books in the evening? My brain certainly doesn't want to tackle challenging material in the evening...and if I force myself to do it, I probably won't get much out of my reading.

My boys (7, 9 and 11 years old) are voracious readers. They free read for at least an hour every morning and an hour every evening, but that is true free reading: enjoyable, often graphic novels, mostly below their reading level, frequently re-reading the same books, no requirements to read all the words or finish the book.

They read their assigned challenging books during the school day when I can keep a closer eye on them and take the time to listen to more in-depth narrations. And none of my boys could handle 40 minutes of challenging reading yet. My 7 and 9 year olds read for 15-20 minutes. My 11 year old either reads for 20 minutes or listens to an audiobook for 30. (These are, of course, all minimums. They are welcome to read for longer if they get swept up in the book.)

That's an idea. Maybe your son could listen to audiobooks in the evening.

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7 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

Is there a reason you are trying to get him to read challenging books in the evening? My brain certainly doesn't want to tackle challenging material in the evening...and if I force myself to do it, I probably won't get much out of my reading.

My boys (7, 9 and 11 years old) are voracious readers. They free read for at least an hour every morning and an hour every evening, but that is true free reading: enjoyable, often graphic novels, mostly below their reading level, frequently re-reading the same books, no requirements to read all the words or finish the book.

They read their assigned challenging books during the school day when I can keep a closer eye on them and take the time to listen to more in-depth narrations. And none of my boys could handle 40 minutes of challenging reading yet. My 7 and 9 year olds read for 15-20 minutes. My 11 year old either reads for 20 minutes or listens to an audiobook for 30. (These are, of course, all minimums. They are welcome to read for longer if they get swept up in the book.)

That's an idea. Maybe your son could listen to audiobooks in the evening.

The evening reading books aren't challenging, just longer than the easy readers he was reading.  I used the 1000 good books list and he read all of the Grades 1-3 books (below his reading level, so easy for him) in the past 9 months.  However, it seems like he was just breezing through them and not actually reading.  He was the one that asked to increase his reading time from 20 minutes to 30, then he wanted to do 40 and one day, he even asked me if he could read for 2 hours and he did read a stack of books.  I'm so confused.

I've tried repeatedly with audiobooks and he just won't listen to them, he gets very frustrated and just wants classical music when playing or doing math and Ginalina folk music while he plays.  I actually thought of trying audiobooks again since it has been a few months since I last tried.

Outside of his "required" 20 minute morning challenging reading and 40 minute evening "fun" book reading - he reads on his own too, a lot of books he chose - books about math, science and minecraft.

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Here are the books he's read in the evening since October, so you will see they are easy readers mostly.  There are 191 books, and I noticed he started going through them faster for the last 90 or so books.  He told me he did read all of the Madeline and Babar books and as we went through this list today, there was some he just skipped over as he "read" them.  So, I wonder if it is an interest thing?  I'm just frustrated about this and not sure how to proceed ahead.

 

  • Olivia Sharp (Nate the Great's Cousin) - The Pizza Monster
  • Oliva Sharp 4-book audiobook set
  • Amelia Bedelia
  • Thank you, Amelia Bedelia
  • Come Back, Amelia Bedelia
  • Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia
  • Good Work, Amelia Bedelia
  • Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia
  • Amelia Bedelia Helps Out
  • Amelia Bedelia and the Baby
  • Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping
  • Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia
  • Amelia Bedelia's Family Album
  • Balto
  • George the Drummer Boy
  • George and Martha
  • The Long Way to a New Land
  • The Horse in Harry's Room
  • Daniel's Duck
  • A Bargain for Frances
  • Bread and Jam for Frances
  • A Baby Sister for Frances
  • The Carrot Seed
  • Bedtime for Frances
  • A Birthday for Frances
  • Sammy the Seal
  • Chester
  • The Littlest Leaguer
  • Sam the Minuteman
  • The Josefina Story Quilt
  • Julius
  • Mrs. Brice's Mice
  • A New Coat for Anna
  • Granny and the Desperadoes
  • George Washington's Mother
  • Clara and the Bookwagon
  • The Long Way Westward
  • Prairie School
  • Keep the Lights Burning Abbie
  • Finding Providence
  • First Flight: The Story of Tom Tate and the Wright Brothers
  • Abigail Takes the Wheel
  • The Battle for St. Michaels
  • Night Noises and the Other Mole and Troll Stories
  • Albert the Albatross
  • The Lighthouse Children
  • Barney's Horse
  • Danny and the Dinosaur
  • Danny and the Dinosaur Go to Camp
  • Oliver
  • Stanley
  • Grizzwold
  • Wagon Wheels
  • Dinosaur Hunter
  • Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express
  • The 18 Penny Goose
  • The First Thanksgiving
  • Christopher Columbus
  • George Washington: The First President
  • George Washington and the General's Dog
  • Chang's Paper Pony
  • Kick, Pass, Run
  • Hockey at Home
  • Arthur's Funny Money
  • Thomas Edison: Lighting the Way
  • Ben Franklin Thinks Big
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
  • Always Room for One More
  • Amos and Boris
  • Brave Irene
  • C D C?
  • And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street
  • Andy and the Lion
  • Angus and the Ducks
  • The Animals of Farmer Jones
  • Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing
  • Amish Christmas
  • Christmas in the Barn
  • Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
  • The Crippled Lamb
  • My First Christmas
  • The Birds of Bethlehem
  • The Grumpy Shepherd
  • Mary, Did You Know?
  • Peter Spier's Christmas
  • Silent Night
  • Who is Coming to Our House?
  • The Story of Christmas
  • The Big Snow
  •  The 12 Days of Christmas
  • A Apple Pie
  • Apricot ABC
  • The Biggest Bear
  • Biggest House in the World
  • A Color of His Own
  • Swimmy
  • It's Mine
  • Inch by Inch
  • Geraldine the Music Mouse
  • An Extraordinary Egg
  • Fish is Fish
  • The Church Mouse
  • Caps for Sale
  • The Cock, the Mouse and the Little Red Hen
  • Corduroy
  • Cross-Country Cat
  • Deer at the Brook
  • Doctor Dan and the Bandage Man
  • Dogger
  • An Edward Lear Alphabet
  • Emily
  • The Emperor's New Clothes
  • The Empty Pot
  • The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins
  • Flat Stanley
  • Goodnight Moon
  • The Color Kittens
  • Harry the Dirty Dog
  • The Sailor Dog
  • Big Red Barn
  • Hilda the Hen Who Wouldn't Give Up
  • A Hole is to Dig
  • Horton Hears a Who
  • The House That Jack Built
  • I Saw the Sea Come In
  • If You Give a Moose a Muffin
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
  • Just Me
  • James and the Rain
  • Johnny Crow's Garden
  • King at the Door
  • The Little Engine That Could
  • The Little House
  • Katy and the Big Snow
  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
  • Little Red Hen
  • Little Toot
  • The Luckiest One of All
  • Madeline
  • Madeline in London
  • Madeline and the Bad Hat
  • Madeline's Rescue
  • Madeline's Christmas
  • Madeline Says Merci
  • Madeline in America
  • Made About Madeline
  • Make Way for Ducklings
  • Blueberries for Sal
  • Marshmallow
  • May I Bring a Friend
  • Millions of Cats
  • Miss Rumpius
  • Eleanor
  • Chanticleer and the Fox
  • Ox Cart Man
  • My Mother is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World
  • On Mother's Lap
  • Owl Moon
  • Paper Crane
  • Penny Wise - Fun Foolish
  • Peter Spier's Rain
  • The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night
  • Petunia
  • Petunia Takes a Trip
  • White Snow, Bright Snow
  • Randolph Caldecott Picture Book
  • The Poky Little Puppy
  • Rain, Rain Rivers
  • Richard Scarry's Please and Thank You Book
  • Rome Antics
  • The Shy Little Kitten
  • Sir Frances Drake: His Daring Deeds
  • The Smartest Bear and His Brother Oliver
  • The Snowy Day
  • Brother Francis and the Friendly Beasts
  • Stone Soup: An Old Tale
  • The Story About Ping
  • The Story of Babar
  • Babar Goes to School
  • Babar the King
  • The Story of Ferdinand
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  • Three Little Kittens
  • Thunder Cake
  • A Toad for Tuesday
  • Two Roman Mice
  • Veronica
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Where Does the Butterfly Go When It Rains?
  • Where the Wild Things Are
  • My Father's Dragon
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22 minutes ago, Classically Minded said:

The evening reading books aren't challenging, just longer than the easy readers he was reading.  I used the 1000 good books list and he read all of the Grades 1-3 books (below his reading level, so easy for him) in the past 9 months.  However, it seems like he was just breezing through them and not actually reading. 

Then he might be telling you that those books are too challenging to be "fun" reading under those circumstances.

He was the one that asked to increase his reading time from 20 minutes to 30, then he wanted to do 40 and one day, he even asked me if he could read for 2 hours and he did read a stack of books.  I'm so confused.

So he seems to enjoy the "reading" even if he isn't actually reading all the words. No harm in that, though it might make sense to give him more say in the book choices to tempt him into actually reading.

Outside of his "required" 20 minute morning challenging reading and 40 minute evening "fun" book reading - he reads on his own too, a lot of books he chose - books about math, science and minecraft.

Is there a reason he couldn't read about math and science and minecraft in the evenings? If you want him to be exposed to particular books that you consider good literature, then you could assign it during school time or read it aloud to him. I know that if I tried to tell my boys what to read in the evenings, they would be much less interested in reading.

 

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48 minutes ago, JHLWTM said:

DD10 reads very quickly as well. He’s reading mostly for “plot” and not for details.

This is interesting, I wonder if that could be what my DS is doing?  He showed me today how he reads a book, he goes line by line and turns the page - not really reading but somehow gathers the meaning somewhat.

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8 minutes ago, Classically Minded said:

Here are the books he's read in the evening since October, so you will see they are easy readers mostly.  There are 191 books, and I noticed he started going through them faster for the last 90 or so books.  He told me he did read all of the Madeline and Babar books and as we went through this list today, there was some he just skipped over as he "read" them.  So, I wonder if it is an interest thing?  I'm just frustrated about this and not sure how to proceed ahead.

Hmmm... it might be an interest thing. I wouldn't think he was reading "too quickly" based on the list you provided - those books might be really easy for him.  The list is mostly books with pretty simple plot lines, no challenging language. Do you have a sense for what kind of challenging book he could read?  That might help us give you examples of books that might be of higher interest to him. You could consider the following authors  for your son: George MacDonald, C. S. Lewis, Lewis Carrol, Rudyard Kipling, Tolkien, Animal Farm (ok, that's a title, not an author), Jim Murphy, Diane Stanley, Sy Montgomery, to name a few.

 

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3 minutes ago, JHLWTM said:

Hmmm... it might be an interest thing. I wouldn't think he was reading "too quickly" based on the list you provided - those books might be really easy for him.  The list is mostly books with pretty simple plot lines, no challenging language. Do you have a sense for what kind of challenging book he could read?  That might help us give you examples of books that might be of higher interest to him. You could consider the following authors  for your son: George MacDonald, C. S. Lewis, Lewis Carrol, Rudyard Kipling, Tolkien, Animal Farm (ok, that's a title, not an author), Jim Murphy, Diane Stanley, Sy Montgomery, to name a few.

 

In the morning he's reading the WTM rec's for the challenging reading - Saint George and the Dragon, Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow, etc. and he LOVES those.

I've considered trying books like James and the Giant Peach, The Apple and the Arrow, etc. but was thinking maybe those are too hard??  I'm not sure.  The next book I have in line for him to read is Abraham Lincoln by D'Aulaire.  It is supposed to be an "advanced reader" for grades 1-3.

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3 minutes ago, Classically Minded said:

I've considered trying books like James and the Giant Peach, The Apple and the Arrow, etc. but was thinking maybe those are too hard??  I'm not sure.  The next book I have in line for him to read is Abraham Lincoln by D'Aulaire.  It is supposed to be an "advanced reader" for grades 1-3.

I'd throw out other people's rating systems for "leveled readers" and just aim for well written books of interest to your son. Even if he reads some "harder" books on his own now (CS Lewis, Tolkien, MacDonald, etc), doesn't mean you can't read it together formally for school again later. 

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We separate out assigned reading from pleasure reading entirely. Assigned reading happens for school and is discussed either with me or in an online class. Pleasure reading is entirely free choice; I neither choose the books nor require a minimum level. I will often suggest books by requesting them from the library and dumping them in her book bin, but she is entirely welcome to ignore those suggestions. If she is ignoring a suggestion I really think she will enjoy, I might pick it up and describe it to her so she knows why I chose it, but she is still welcome to continue ignoring it. If I really feel that strongly about it, I’ll add it to our school time eventually.

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2 hours ago, Jackie said:

We separate out assigned reading from pleasure reading entirely. Assigned reading happens for school and is discussed either with me or in an online class. Pleasure reading is entirely free choice; I neither choose the books nor require a minimum level.

This is our approach, as well. During lessons, DS8 reads aloud to me for 30min daily from any of a variety of books at or above his reading level on our classroom shelves.
 

Otherwise, books are made readily available (& new ones checked out from the library with frequency) but he is not required to engage with them. He goes through phases of reading less or more; often he doesn’t have the attention span for it, except at bedtime or in the car, but we nurture the love however we can. 

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On 2/20/2021 at 3:22 PM, Classically Minded said:

This is interesting, I wonder if that could be what my DS is doing?  He showed me today how he reads a book, he goes line by line and turns the page - not really reading but somehow gathers the meaning somewhat.

Are you sure he isn’t reading? 

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On 2/20/2021 at 3:34 PM, JHLWTM said:

Hmmm... it might be an interest thing. I wouldn't think he was reading "too quickly" based on the list you provided - those books might be really easy for him.  The list is mostly books with pretty simple plot lines, no challenging language. Do you have a sense for what kind of challenging book he could read?  That might help us give you examples of books that might be of higher interest to him. You could consider the following authors  for your son: George MacDonald, C. S. Lewis, Lewis Carrol, Rudyard Kipling, Tolkien, Animal Farm (ok, that's a title, not an author), Jim Murphy, Diane Stanley, Sy Montgomery, to name a few.

 

Yeah, these are books my 4 year old has mostly outgrown. My kids tend to need chapter books after they are fluent readers.

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20 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Are you sure he isn’t reading? 

He said he would only read a few words on each page, so yes.  I don't understand though how he can grasp what the book was about - maybe because of the pictures and the few words he read?  I had him start D'Aulaire's Abraham Lincoln and he is enjoying it and he told me he's now reading every word, so he only read a few pages of it in 15 minutes.

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3 minutes ago, Classically Minded said:

He said he would only read a few words on each page, so yes.  I don't understand though how he can grasp what the book was about - maybe because of the pictures and the few words he read?  I had him start D'Aulaire's Abraham Lincoln and he is enjoying it and he told me he's now reading every word, so he only read a few pages of it in 15 minutes.

I’d probe a bit more 🙂 . He might be reading, like, half the words in each sentence, which might be enough. 

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48 minutes ago, purpleowl said:

Is it possible that he thinks "reading" means reading aloud and doesn't realize it's still considered "reading" if done silently?

That actually did happen last year.  He had been reading independently in the evenings after finishing OPGTR, and I finally asked him why does he read out loud?  He didn't know he could read silently and I had no idea he didn't know that.  So, he started reading silently from then on. 

He explained to me Saturday, that he reads a few words on the page and then just runs his finger under each line of words from then on and turns the page - he said he doesn't read those words after the first few words.  He admitted he was being lazy and told us it was because his brain just wants to do electronics lol.  😄

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8 minutes ago, Classically Minded said:

That actually did happen last year.  He had been reading independently in the evenings after finishing OPGTR, and I finally asked him why does he read out loud?  He didn't know he could read silently and I had no idea he didn't know that.  So, he started reading silently from then on. 

He explained to me Saturday, that he reads a few words on the page and then just runs his finger under each line of words from then on and turns the page - he said he doesn't read those words after the first few words.  He admitted he was being lazy and told us it was because his brain just wants to do electronics lol.  😄

I think stories that aren't easy to follow in this way might really help here, lol. You would be thoroughly lost reading a chapter book like this!! 

(I've been known to skim descriptive paragraphs when reading for plot, I admit.) 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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Update - I had him pick some books and we own Billy and Blaze and he had read it in the past and wanted to read it again.  Then, I saw the author had several books in the series, so I showed him and he started jumping up and down and said he wants to read them all!  So, we are going to get them from the library and he's really excited.  I'm reviewing all the great advice you all have given and checking out some of the authors mentioned too to see if he wants to read them, thanks! 🙂

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I suspect my early reader was doing this at least part of the time.

The books you listed sound a bit easy / young.  Generally, the easier the book, the less interesting for a bright child.

To confirm actual reading and comprehension, can you ask more in-depth questions about at least one book per day?

Although I don't buy the "technology makes me unable to read" line generally, you might want to consider having his vision checked by a developmental optometrist.  It's possible he is having trouble physically reading.  Worth a look.

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20 hours ago, SKL said:

The books you listed sound a bit easy / young.  Generally, the easier the book, the less interesting for a bright child.

Yes, that was the plan, to have him read books below his reading level in the evening as "fun" books as outlined in the WTM.

I decided to try letting him choose what he reads for the evening assigned time and so far (2 days now), that is going well - he chose Billy and Blaze series.  In his own time, I do find him reading our encyclopedias, science books, minecraft guides and brain books about logic.  However, he also reads baby and toddler board books on his own lol.  Today, he read a stack of books in his own time instead of playing in his room, so maybe the books I had him read the past 9 months weren't all that interesting to him?

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1 minute ago, Classically Minded said:

Yes, that was the plan, to have him read books below his reading level in the evening as "fun" books as outlined in the WTM.

I decided to try letting him choose what he reads for the evening assigned time and so far (2 days now), that is going well - he chose Billy and Blaze series.  In his own time, I do find him reading our encyclopedias, science books, minecraft guides and brain books about logic.  However, he also reads baby and toddler board books on his own lol.  Today, he read a stack of books in his own time instead of playing in his room, so maybe the books I had him read the past 9 months weren't all that interesting to him?

Sometimes people talk about "high-low" books. That means books that have a higher interest level and a lower reading level. Honestly, adults read books like that all the time - if I want to read something easy and entertaining before bed, I don't reach for a book written at a 7th grade level meant for 7th graders, but I will grab a book written at a 7th grade level meant for adults. From what I have read, most adult popular fiction is written at around a 7th grade reading level...because that is the level that is relaxing and pleasurable for most adults.

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28 minutes ago, Classically Minded said:

Today, he read a stack of books in his own time instead of playing in his room, so maybe the books I had him read the past 9 months weren't all that interesting to him?

I wouldn’t be surprised if those weren’t engaging enough!

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's been a few weeks and he is doing really good with the evening reading!  He picked a lot of his books and he wants to read more of the My America series (boy books), but I read from others that these books are considered "twaddle" - is that true and does that matter?  Opinions please! 

He's also enjoying d'Aulaire's books and he read all the Billy and Blaze series and wanted more like that, any recommendations?

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I missed this thread first time round but to me it sounds like the books are too easy for him.  
 

check out read aloud revival for some good age appropriate lists and give him some harder stuff.  Something that will force him to slow down a bit and pay attention to make sense of things.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/15/2021 at 9:24 PM, Classically Minded said:

It's been a few weeks and he is doing really good with the evening reading!  He picked a lot of his books and he wants to read more of the My America series (boy books), but I read from others that these books are considered "twaddle" - is that true and does that matter?  Opinions please! 

He's also enjoying d'Aulaire's books and he read all the Billy and Blaze series and wanted more like that, any recommendations?

I'll say "pooh" to the idea of books being twaddle. While I try to make sure that my kids don't totally live off a diet of formulaic writing, I counter it by encouraging variety rather than banning anything. If he starts reading tons of the My America series, I'd find out from him some of the historical periods our characters he was most interested in and get a couple of related books to offer.

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