This week we had a question from one of our lovely parents. She was wondering how best to start preparation for 11+ exams for her son about to begin year 4? One of our number one tips is read, read, read! With this in mind we thought it would be a good idea to create our very own 11+ reading list aimed at pupils in Year 3/4. We’ve tried extremely hard to create a ‘short’ list of books, which hasn’t been easy; there are so many wonderful books out there that everyone should read (not just children)!
We’ve compiled a list of 10 books that will give your child a well-rounded selection of reading from different genres and styles. If your child has recently read a book that they loved, please let us know by commenting below. We can read it and add it to our list for others to find!
Reading on a regular basis is an excellent way to help your child develop their English skills and vocabulary. It will certainly help them in English and verbal reasoning tests.
Reading helps children to identify and understand the use of similes, metaphors, adjectives, adverbs etc. within sentences. It also helps them to see how sentences can be constructed in different ways. It is important to try and expose your child to the many different types of literature, such as poems, short stories, letters, non-fiction, magazines and newspaper articles.
Reading should be fun, so try not to make it yet another piece of homework that your child has to do. Help them to choose books to read from a local library or perhaps on a Kindle/e-Reader. Consider setting challenges or rewarding them after they have read a few books to encourage them to read more. Having a competition against them to see who can read the most books – you or them – is a great trick!
Try and make reading part of normal life by including it in your child’s daily routine e.g. reading before going to bed. Listening to your child read and discussing the content with them will also encourage them to read more. It shows that you consider reading an important skill. You’ll find more tips on how to improve your child’s reading here.
With all that being said, the following suggestions are a mix of classics and more contemporary books that we are at Primary Tutor Project love (they are in no particular order):
Beowolf – Kevin Crossley-Holland
This is the story of a young man who travelled far across the sea to fight two terrifying monsters. His name was Beowulf, and his story was written down in Anglo-Saxon in the eighth century. Kevin Crossley-Holland retells the story for children in strong, rhythmical prose, with striking illustrations by Charles Keeping.
We read this one as a class when I was a Year 4 teacher… I have to say the children loved the gore! This ties in nicely to the Anglo-Saxon history unit that is taught in Y3/4.
The Firework-Maker’s Daughter – Philip Pullman
What Lila wants to be more than anything else in the world is . . . a Firework-Maker!
But firework-making is not just about being able to make Crackle-Dragons and Golden Sneezes. There is also one special secret: every Firework-Maker must make a perilous journey to face the terrifying Fire-Fiend!
Not knowing that she needs special protection to survive the Fire-Fiend’s flames, Lila sets off alone. Her friends, Chulak and Hamlet – the King’s white elephant – race after her. But can they possibly reach her in time? Children really adore Lila’s character and her bravery in the story makes for an excellent discussion!
The Iron Man – Ted Hughes
Mankind must put a stop to the dreadful destruction caused by the Iron Man. A trap is set for him, but he cannot be kept down. Then, when a terrible monster from outer space threatens to lay waste to the planet, it is the Iron Man who finds a way to save the world.
Another beautiful story – the title draws the Marvel fans in, however this is not the same Iron Man!
The Demon Headmaster – Gillian Cross
This is part of a series with each book being as fun as the last! When Dinah is fostered by the Hunters she thinks her biggest problem will be fitting in with her foster-brothers, Lloyd and Harvey. However, once she starts at her new school it’s clear that there’s more to worry about. All the children, apart from a handful including Lloyd and Harvey, are too well-behaved – almost robotic – and oddly keen to please the creepy headmaster.
The three children set out to discover the nature of his influence over everyone . . . but then Dinah finds herself saying and doing things she has no power over. Soon they uncover the headmaster’s wicked plan. Controlling the school is just a practice run. He has set his sights on dominating the entire nation! The children must foil him before he succeeds . . . but with Dinah under his spell they’ve got a challenge on their hands.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C S Lewis
Part of a wonderful series – it is definitely worth reading the lot! When Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy step through a wardrobe door in the strange country house where they are staying, they find themselves in the land of Narnia. Frozen in eternal winter, Narnia is a land of snow and pine forests, and its creatures are enslaved by the terrible White Witch. All children and parents will love the magic of these adventures.
Stig of the Dump – Clive King
Barney loves to wander off by himself. One day he tumbles over into a disused quarry where he meets somebody with shaggy hair wearing a rabbit-skin and speaking in grunts. He names him Stig. They end up going on adventures together and having lots of fun.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
One of my favourites – It tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. Its narrative course and structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential in both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre.
Usborne Illustrated Greek Myths – Usborne
A wonderful collection of six classic Greek myths and legends, specially retold for younger readers. Includes the stories of ‘The Wooden Horse’, ‘The Minotaur’ and ‘The Odyssey’, as well as a guide to the Greek Gods. Beautifully bound in padded hardback, and packed with information, colour and culture, this makes a thrilling read for any child. If you are thinking of buying any books through Usborne, click here where you can get discounted rates.
Weird World of Wonders – Tony Robinson
These are a series where Sir Tony Robinson takes you on a headlong gallop through time, pointing out all the most important, funny, strange, amazing, entertaining, smelly and disgusting bits about the various bits of history! It’s history, but not as we know it! Fun, weird and strangely informative.
Splat the Fake Fact! – Adam Frost
Some incorrect facts have escaped from author Adam Frost’s imagination into this book…Can you figure out which fact is untrue in a sea of brilliantly weird, wonderful and unusual facts? Once you find them make sure you SPLAT them, lasso them, doodle on them – and reveal them as an imposter facts before they go out into the world! A fun interactive book – good for kids who are not keen on reading.
If you are worried in any way about your child’s reading ability you’ll find some useful tips here. If you have any other issues or would like more recommendations on books to read please feel free to contact us here. At Primary Tutor Project where we are always happy to help parents and give advice where needed. Here is a wonderful blog with a list classic book recommendations for 11+ reading!