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I have an 8yo child with CAS (Childhood Apraxia of Speech). Because the first two schools he attended didn't deal well with his CAS, he only really began to read about a year ago. He reads at a first grade level. However, his comprehension (when I read to him or he listens to audiobooks) is somewhere around middle school to junior high school level.

This makes reading a constant struggle. He can read Mittens the Kitten. He wants to read Tolkien, Asimov, Jules Verne, and Mark Twain, and compared to them, the things he can read seem "boring and dumb" (his words). I'm trying hard to find things that are good enough to keep his attention, but easy enough for him to read on his own to gain practice and confidence.

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defintitely try to look for books with audiobook companion, he can read the book along while listening to the audio – Lie Ryan Jun 12 '11 at 6:15
Would there be any value in showing him movie adaptations of stories before reading the original book, as a way to make "harder" material more accessible? – Will E. Apr 23 '12 at 17:44
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Check out some of the things Terry Pratchett has done. Even when he writes for children and young adults and the language is simpler, the ideas communicated is still the same advanced Terry Pratchett ideas. I've read many of his young adult book sand enjoy them just as much as his "normal" books.

If your reference to "Mittens the Kitten" is this: he might be able to read The Bromeliad Trilogy, "Truckers", "Diggers" and "Wings". It's funny and exciting even for adults. I read it twice and do look very much forward to reading it to my daughter.

A bit more advanced is the Johnny Maxwell trilogy and the books about Tiffany Aching.

I'd say all of these books contains subtleties and ideas far above the difficulty of the language, and in addition they are hilarious. So if your son can read them, he should enjoy them. I did. :-)

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Yes, yes, the Bromeliad Trilogy was a huge success with our son when he was 8 and wasn't yet good at reading. It has enough deep ideas under the crust of a children's tale plot. – 9000 Mar 31 '11 at 12:37
Others had good suggestion, but I marked this as the answer: I'm digging my box of Pratchett books out of storage as we speak, I can't believe I hadn't thought of that! – HedgeMage Apr 5 '11 at 17:28
Similarly, Piers Anthony's Xanth books have some fun ideas but are simple reading. I read them about the same age as the first few Pratchett Discworld books and really enjoyed them. – Rory Alsop Apr 24 '12 at 10:29

Did you consider writing something on your own?

For example, take a look at Tolkien. Take his story and make a chapter of your own, with your own words. Make it a bit easier. Leave out titles that are hard to grasp, and try to create sentences that are as easy as possible.

You don't have to be a writer to do this; you can use what's in the book, just simplify it.

I wrote a lot of kids stories for my son when I didn't really like the children's books I found. It helps you, too: it makes you think and use your own imagination.


To show you what I mean I added some pictures from one of my notebooks.

I like to put little drawings into them. This one is about a knight who travels across a desert and gets into trouble with some wolf brothers. enter image description here enter image description here

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Very interesting suggestion. I never thought of that before. +1 for Originality. :) – MasterZ Mar 31 '11 at 9:22
Thanks very much MasterZ! :) – Hannibal Mar 31 '11 at 9:49
this. is. awesome. – David Murdoch Mar 31 '11 at 11:04
Heh, thanks very much David! :) – Hannibal Mar 31 '11 at 11:30
Ezek piszkozatok, vagy tényleg ezt a kézírást kellett a szegény kisfiad kisilabizálja? Mert még nekem is nehéz - háromszor olvastam el az első oldalt mire kifiguráltam, hogy mit pillantott meg Sir Levente a távolban. De az ötlet marhára tetszik. – Martha Dec 2 '11 at 0:16

What about comic books and graphic novels? Many pictures, little text (usually) and a lot of true masterpieces.

Some classic books are available as graphic novels. And of course there are many excellent original comic books.

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One excellent supplement to books is to use closed captioning when the television is used. This puts the words being spoken on the screen in tandem with what the child is watching. While it is not as riveting or entertaining as the reading material can be; it helps address the other side which is to help raise the reading ability.

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Perhaps look for books for adult learners of English as a second language (ESL). I think some libraries have separate sections for these and they may include simplified versions of adult stories.

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I am an adult and read ferociously, but I still love reading children's lit. There's a lot of good stuff out there, though it may still be above his reading level. But something to think about for later:

Mysterious Bennedict Society
Artemis Fowl
Hunger Games

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