Nelly Elliott

Newcastle based person, she/her, mama, creative, colourful, caffeinated, plus-size fashion lover, lefty feminist killjoy #funbutmakeitfashion


Our favourite first reading books.

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Zoe is 6 and a half and in year 1. Obviously with lockdowns and home schooling things have been a little different this year in terms of school, but one thing I have noticed recently is how her reading has suddenly clicked into place. For the longest time reading was really frustrating and as soon as she got a word wrong or struggled to sound something out she would cry and give up. It was one of the things we found the most difficult with home schooling.

I see a lot of myself in Zoe and like me, if she is not instantly amazing at something she gets bored and gives up, we are working hard on instilling perserverence and patience, but honestly, I totally get it. I was exactly the same as a kid, I'd wait long enough for my parents to buy me the equipment and then go off it - karate, horse riding, clarinet. All started but quickly abandoned for something else bright and shiny. We werent a well off family, looking back my Mum must have been super annoyed with me.

Anyway, now Zoe's reading is improving and she is seeking out stories to read, I thought I would share some of our favourite early reader books - to be honest I'll take anything that isnt Biff, Chip and bloody Kipper.

Usbourne Early Readers

Zoe got this First Classics Reading Library as a gift and absolutely loves them, all the classic fairy tales. I am sometimes worried about out-dated themes in classic stories but these are really lovely interpretations and have activity pages as well. Also, if there is something I dont agree with such as descriptions of the princesses being looks focused, I use it as a chance to start a conversation with Zoe. "Yes, the princess is really pretty, she also looks very strong, I wonder what her hobbies could be etc..." Try to add some other demensions.

My Little Pony

Zoe has a couple of these My Little Pony books and while the pages of just writing intimidates her a little right now, I feel like she isnt far off this level. We find the fact its linked to one of her favourite TV shows means she wants to read it more. We tend to read these ones together, taking in a couple of pages at a time and talking about the story and characters. "Wow, I bet Applejack was worried about loosing her diary, how would you feel?" "I wonder if she will find it again? I hope no one reads it" etc...

These boosk also have a couple of activity pages at the back which Zoe always responds well to.

Isadora Moon

I love this series of books, probably a bit more than Zoe right now. The main character is half vampire and half fairy, there are a lot of themes around her being different and trying to fit in before owning her unique-ness which I just think is wonderful for young girls. Isadora Moon is a nice mix of paragraphs of text and pictures which Zoe really responds well to at the moment, less intimidating than the My Little Pony ones.

Squishy McFluff

These Squishy McFluff books are my absolute favourite and Zoe really loves to read them, she even has her own invisible dog called Ozzie inspired by Squishy McFluff. The books are easy to read with not too many words per page, but the whole book has a rhyming structure which is really fun. Zoe likes to read each page first, then re-read it to get the rhyme rhythmn. We tend to take it in turns to read pages and she loves the illustration style.

Finally, we have had these Little People, Big Dreams books since she was a baby but I have found recently that she sits and reads them independently. She likes the fact they were real people and often comes to ask to see real pictures of the people, or youtube videos etc... We have the Coco Channel and the Rosa Parks ones too, but definitely looking to pick up a few more.

I am really enjoying seeing Zoe's inner bookworm coming out, and while she cant sit and read whole books yet, having these around the house and reading with her, I am finding she is keen to try more independent reading. I am really excited to share more of my favourite stories with her as she grows in confidence and ability. What are some of your favourite kids stories/series?