Book Reviews & Extras - Elementary Boys

My Father's World uses a Book Basket method to develop a love of learning and enrich all subjects; Independent Reading Time has different goals and methods but there is overlap in book lists and helpful hints
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Re: What do you do for assigned reading for your 5th grader?

Unread post by esoloj »

My son really likes The Kingdom Series by Chuck Black (think knights and castles), The Burgess Bird Book, The Burgess Animal Book, and Mother West Wind.
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It's all about finding the right motivator...

Unread post by TriciaMR »

I have a 1st grader that "doesn't like to read." Well, today at Sam's Club I saw a Lego story book (now, my boys LOVE Legos). Guess what my boy is doing right now? Sitting in the big recliner reading this Lego story book! So, if you have a Sam's Club, look for the Lego City story book - it has 6 stories in it, that I would say are definitely 1st grade level.

Postby TriciaMR » Sun May 22, 2011 9:48 pm
Even better - they each read one story to me at bedtime tonight out of the new book, instead of me reading to them! Gotta love it... Now, if we can just keep the interest...

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Re: It's all about finding the right motivator...

Unread post by 705emily »

That's so great!!! It happened to my ds too! At 6 he was really not motivated to read at all. Then... one day he saw a picture of a blue whale and found out it was the biggest creature on earth. All of a sudden---he wanted every book that the library had on sharks, whales, and other sea creatures. :-) His interest was so strong that he'd sit and slowly figure out words--just to find out the information he wanted to know!! I could not believe it! Two weeks ago he stood up at Homeschool Presentation night and gave a presentation on sharks. He gave an extremely detailed description about the anatomy of sharks, from the names of each fin to the differences between males and females. .He made 6 posters of his favorite sharks, and talked about each one. He made an ocean box this year for science and added all the creatures he learned about. He wrote up index cards with facts about each sea creature, and then pasted them onto a display board and we entered it at a local science fair. After talking the judges' ears off with all the things he had learned, he won a prize for "Best Display" ...all because of something that caught his interest!! The right motivator is powerful!!!
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Re: It's all about finding the right motivator...

Unread post by Dusenkids »

For us it is dinos although legos are a hit too. I might have to go shopping :) CONGRATS on the find!!
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Re: It's all about finding the right motivator...

Unread post by rxmom »

My boys will read or write about anything that has to do with Legos!! I bought my 12 yo the "history" of Legos book and the Complete Star Wars Lego Book for Christmas and he reads this almost nightly...actually he wrote an IEW paper on history of the Lego company...I say use what works/motivates...thanks for sharing.

Delcey :-)
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Early Elementary Avid Advanced Readers?

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

gratitude wrote:What books are you giving your early elementary student (ages 7 or eight) who is reading around a 5th grade level or higher?

I have been looking at Honey for a Child's Heart. The picture books, for ages 4 - 8, he has lost interest in. He is wanting chapter books by this point, and he is reading approximately 1 hour a day on his own. The section for 9 - 12 year olds has some of my child hood favorites listed, but I am concerned about content.

What books can I use that are age appropriate for content, but engaging and interesting for a boy who wants to read chapter books?

P.S. I think I will add the fact that he is emotionally sensitive to some topics.
I don't have a boy. I have an advanced reader dd, who is the epitome of sensitive.

The first 17 Boxcar Children books. Note: these kids live without a parent.

Henry Huggins series by Beverly Cleary.
Mouse and the Motorcycle series by Beverly Cleary.

The Cricket in Times Square by Garth Williams.

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.
Stuart Little by E.B. White.

Magic Tree House books came highly recommended, but my dd did not care for them AT ALL.

The Littles series by John Peterson are adventurous.

I told my dd why I was thinking of all these great books for a boy, and she suggested "Mr. Putter and Tabby" books and "Oliver and Amanda" books. They are picture/chapter books that she really, really enjoyed at that age and still loves to read, even if they are below her reading level.

Mr. Popper's Penguins is another awesome one -- which I sincerely hope they do justice to with the upcoming movie. So hard to trust that, though. :(
Julie in MN wrote:Hi Cyndi! I was hoping you would chime in on this thread, too, since you were in the exact same situation, weren't you? Ready for advanced reading but not for advanced topics.
It was definitely more of a challenge when she was 7yo, but - I'm still there . . . ;) I think it may be a bit easier with a dd, though. There is quite a bit of historical fiction geared more for girls, IMO, which my dd has grown to love so much.

It's tough to be a kid that doesn't like "fantasy" books these days. I tried to tell my dd that Narnia is an allegory and that Aslan is like Jesus and the Witch -- "Witch?! Forget it, Mom. I know what an allegory is, but I still don't want to read that." *sigh*
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Re: Early Elementary Avid Advanced Readers?

Unread post by Dusenkids »

I have read many, but not all, in these sets so take it for what it's worth.

Geronimo Stilton: Newspaper Mouse who lives in New Mouse City, goes on several adventures. Do pre-read them as a few do get into ghosts, spells and the such.
CamJansen: 5th grade girl and her friend Eric use her photographic memory to solve mysteries. One caution, I wouldn't let my 5th grader run around by themselve like they do in the book. They do get into a couple sticky situations. There is a Jr set but have not read any of them.
I like Magic TreeHouse. Some of them do get into the culture's religions so you may want to pre-read some of them, talk about it first. One thing I really like is that some of them now have a non-fiction book to go with them.
I avoid Bailey School Kids. To me, they are just strange books. Example: Vampires don't Drink Lemonade, or Aliens Don't Wear Braces. Four kids think everyone around them is strange and they try to figure out who they "really are" Just not my kind of book.
Childhood of Famous Americans: Little harder but are great if he is into real-life books. They are written like a story be stay close to the facts. Books are many presidents, Boone, Ford, Wright Brothers, Walt Disney...
Ten Commandments Mysteries: I've have only read #9 but the children use the commandments to solve mysteries and figure out the best way to fix the problem.
Jigsaw Jones: More mystery books
Aurthur (Aurthur and DW, kid show) has some chapter books but I have not read them.
And who doesn't like a little Ameilia Bedelia...

I'm sure I can think of others I have used but it's late...
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Re: Early Elementary Avid Advanced Readers?

Unread post by davimee »

How about Henry and Ribsy? I think there are several Henry books by Beverly Cleary. Also a book about Ribsy, if he likes dogs.
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Re: Early Elementary Avid Advanced Readers?

Unread post by gratitude »

Thank you ladies! This board is so helpful. :-)

You have my wheels spinning, and have given me some great ideas of books that I have never read, and threads that have more good ideas. I feel like now I have a direction to go in, and can work on making this come together.

Thank you!
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Re: Early Elementary Avid Advanced Readers?

Unread post by Buttercup78 »

I have the exact same child! Some of his favorite series are the Wally McDoogle by Bill Myers and also the Dixie books by Gilbert Morris.
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Complete Book of Animals for reading

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Another Reading Motivator...

If you have a child that struggles with reading (maybe even dyslexic, like mine) or just seems not interested in reading, my boy has really liked the "pull out story books" from the Complete Book of Animals. I know this is an "optional" resource in ECC and EXP1850, but he has specifically asked if he can pull out all the story books and staple them and read them. He's reading one every couple of days, and then he comes and tells me all the interesting facts about the animal that he can remember. I've also been having him read the individual pages to me as they are assigned in the "2nd/3rd grade supplement" in EXP1850. When we answer the questions, if he can't remember the answer, I show him how to go back and find it in the text. (I do the writing for him, though.) He also loves doing the dot-to-dot and other puzzles in that book, so when that's an option, we'll do those instead of a reading page, which I think makes him enjoy the book even more.
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Any recommendations for summer reading?

Unread post by DS4home »

mom2h wrote:DS is finishing 4th grade, and I am beginning to make up a Summer Reading List. Any suggestions for 10 yo boys?
I have Homer Price on the list, for starters!
Max Elliot Anderson has some great boy books in his Tweener Press Adventure Series. These were some of the first books my ds actually enjoyed reading! We have Reckless Runaway, Legend of the White Wolf, and North Woods Poachers. They are great adventures with Godly values, around 120-150 pages divided into 14-17 or so chapters.

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Re: Any recommendations for summer reading?

Unread post by MelissaB »

The original versions of Heidi and The Secret Garden - - Great for both boys & girls. :-)

One more recommendation...

We just discovered the Sugar Creek Gang Books. They're inexpensive and are good for both genders. It's about a group of five children who hang out and take different adventures. Written a long time ago, but still apply to today.

Melissa B.
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Re: Any recommendations for summer reading?

Unread post by jasntas »

Books a 10 year old boy might enjoy:

I recently found out about a couple of book series that my ds has really been enjoying. They are The Three Cousins Detective Club and The Cul-De-Sac-Kids. These are short chapter books with around 60+ pages. Compared to The Boxcar Children that are usually around 100 pages. There's also the Nate the Great series as well but those might be a little too easy depending upon your child's reading ability and interest. There is the Magic Tree House series but the books talk about magic and some of them have evolutionary content in them.
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Re: Any recommendations for summer reading?

Unread post by Buttercup78 »

Our evaluator just recommended a website classical homeschooling . org that has a page called "1000 good books" and they are categorized by age/grade and type.
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Re: Any recommendations for summer reading?

Unread post by Tracey in ME »

I don't have time to read all of the responses, so I apologize if this suggestion was already given, but Sonlight is selling some summer reader sets. I didn't buy any, but I checked out what they had listed from our library. My girls have enjoyed some of them!
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Books for boys?

Unread post by lovehomeschooling »

blessedmomx3 wrote:My husband and I are looking for new chapter books for our boys. We started the Magic Tree House series last year but it was getting a little "too magical" for us. Anyone have any suggestions or know anything about any of the ones listed below? Thanks for your help!
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> Imagination Station Books
> Voyage with the Vikings
> Showdown with the Shepherd
> The Adventures Of The Bailey School Kids
> Ready, Freddy
> Horrible Harry
> Secret Agent Jack Stalwart
> Zac Power
> Frindle
> A to Z Mysteries
> Stink Moody
> Nate the Great
> Roscoe Riley Rules
I loved the Sugar Creek Gang and Boxcar Children when I was little.
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Re: Books for boys?

Unread post by MelissaB »

Ditto the Sugarcreek Gang books! :)
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Re: Books for boys?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Some of the Nate the Great books were on the ECC book basket list, and my son enjoyed them. The ECC manual mentioned a few of them have a friend who dresses like a witch, so depending on your family views about such things, you may want to prescreen. The girl in no way is presented as "magical" but more as just a quirky little girl? My son found them all silly and fun.

The author of Frindle has written tons of children's chapter books, but that particular one is more for a middle school audience, I think. The topic might not connect as much to a younger child -- basically that something, such as a pencil, could have been named any other word instead, such as "frindle."

The Imagination Station books to me seem like carbon copies of the Magic Tree House, but for a Christian audience. There will be some imaginary things in there, though probably not as "magical." Some facts or history, but mostly kids on an adventure.

I can't recall any of the others on your list, but there are more ideas about books for younger boys here:

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Re: Books for boys?

Unread post by albanyaloe »

I also second the Sugar Creek Gang and Boxcar Children, especially the first 19, written by the original author. It depends if the child is reading the book themselves or having it read aloud, but here are a couple more which we loved.

The School Mouse by Dick King-Smith (a mouse learns to read, but no magic. I have not read other books by this author)
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden (a very sweet story about a cricket and a boy, whimsical. I wouldn't really call this fantasy, like modern fantasy, which I do not like, it was really lovely, a good study of people and characters)
My Side of the Mountain
My son says please say "Sign of the Beaver" by EG Speare, I have not read it yet, but he loved it.
Some of Gary Paulsen Books, like the Hatchet series, when the boys are above 10, are great. Sort of survival series. Just watch out, not all his books are ok.
Wheel on the School (by M de Jong)
Some by Beverley Cleary such as Dear Mr Henshaw, Henry and Ribsy and such, my son liked.
The Saturdays and Thimble Summer (E. Enright)
Hugh Loftings Doctor Dolittle- My son loved these, read aloud to him, even though they are old- fashioned. There are quite a few of these, I like the old ones best, cos they've left all sorts of good stuff out the new ones. (I must mention that some consider these kind of colonial and racist. When we read them aloud we omitted reading anything that may sound racist- that way we could still enjoy the benefits of the good literature)
Charlotte's Web- EB White (So much better than the movie)
Arthur Ransome series- Swallows and Amazons- he has just started on these

I hope that gives you all some happy hours behind the pages of a book,
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Re: Books for boys?

Unread post by donutmom »

We liked many of the above also.

I'll add a series that got my one son interested in reading on his own. . . and he hasn't stopped since! We "stumbled" across it at the library, and requested others in the series through inter-library loan.

It's a older series called The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West. Most of the books were written in the 1950's. There's a mystery in each book, and my son liked the characters (the Hollisters are a family with 5 children). They're filled with fun and goodness and respect for others among other thing. Ssshhh, don't tell, but I even enjoyed reading a couple of them (beyond the first one that I had read-aloud). ;)

Happy reading,
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Re: Books for boys?

Unread post by 4myboys »

I am famililar with most of the titles you mentioned. My boys were in Public School until a year and a half ago, and I helped out in the library. Most of these would be considered high interest early chapter books and are very popular with the grades 2-4 (sometimes younger or older depending on the personal reading level). For the most part they are entertaining stories without much substance.

My 3rd grader loves Stink Moody and for the most part his books aren't too bad (though he refused to read the Zombie Walk one, which I was pleased about). There will be some interesting trivia thrown in along the way as Stink is a trivia buff.

The boys used to read the Bailey School Kids books, but they all have the kids in the story imagining that someone in their school or neighbourhood is some kind of fictional being (vampires, Frankenstein, warewolves, aliens, Merlin, witches, etc). I'm glad they've moved on.

Zack Powers is a kid spy, so boys love that one, I could take or leave them. Some people are fine with all these themes, some aren't. Much like the magic Tree House series which doesn't contain more than a sprinkling of facts, if you are looking to stretch your child's mind, you won't find it in these books. If you are just looking to get them really interested in reading, then you might be fine with them. I look at it like cartoons, or junk food. A little is alright, but too much can really spoil the appetite for anything more challenging or indepth. My kids are starting to grow out of the habit of most of the twaddly books (thank goodness).

If you are going to allow them these types of things for free reading, might I suggest that you pick some meatier books to read aloud to them? That way you can stretch their imaginations and vocabulary, and they may transition to better literature easier. This is what worked for our boys.

My 3rd grader has been stretching a little more of late -- he has recently discovered the Herbie Jones series (no magic, monsters or spy gadgets), and my 6th grader has discovered the Hardy Boys. They both read every Encyclopedia Brown Book at the library. Beverly Cleary has some good fiction -- the Henry Huggins books for example. I guess it depends on what you're looking for. Maybe try looking at a Sonlight Book list for your children age, or other similar book list. I'm not sure yet what MFW recommends as I've not received the materials yet.
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Re: Books for boys?

Unread post by momxnine »

My 11 year old loves Sugar Creek Gang and Mandie. Another place to look for a good list is on They have lists by grade level and since Charlotte Mason didn't believe in "twaddle," most of them are good. :)

I loved the Happy Hollisters when I was young, but I got a few a year or so ago for my boys and decided to not keep them. They have a "bad" kid in them who is always causing trouble and he never gets in trouble for it, so nothing is resolved and it just keeps going on. Frustrating because other than that they were good books. :(

Depending on reading level and availability, my 14 year old used to read all the historical fiction Landmark books. He's a big history buff though and my 11 year old won't hardly touch them! He likes mysteries and science stuff. :)
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Re: Books for boys?

Unread post by Bessers »

We started The Magic Tree House and stopped for the same reason as you. We love The Imagination Station series though! My son also enjoys The Hardy Boys.
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Re: Books for boys?

Unread post by 4monkeyz »

We stumbled across several finds @ our library - not all of these have I read, he's reading so fast I can't keep up so I do a quick skim and then at night or when I have a free moment I am trying to read through them more completely. When my ds started out reading he read quite a few non-fiction & some, ahem, comics like Tin-Tin - which I would highly recommend it got him hooked on reading. ;)

His favs:
Saxby Smart - 3 volumes, author Simon Cheshire. Reminds me of Ency. Brown, I have personally read the first one, but he has zoomed past me to the second in the series.
Hank the Cowdog - John R. Erickson - light and very funny.
Answers in Genesis - Dinosaur books
Scout - I haven't completed this book yet, but my son read it and enjoyed it.
Hardy Boys - Old ones, not the casefiles, I need to reread...
Henry & Ribsy - I need to reread...

We also have from the library & I haven't read any of these (quick disclaimer):
Big Red
The Homeschool Detectives - Mystery of the Homeless Treasure, John Bibee

I also have found old children's versions of several classics like Robin Hood, Jungle Book and Wizard of Oz which have been read and loved.

Oh how I love books!! But that's the English Major in me. :-)
Andrea ~ Christ-Follower, Blessed Wife, Mama of 4
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