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My seven-year-old daughter loves reading, but only seems to read series about puppies, fairies, ponies and kittens! Should I be trying to wean her off these books or is it ok to let her carry on reading them?

I understand your concern about these series and that you want your daughter to experience the many wonderful children’s books that are available. However, as a teacher of reading, I know that a new reader may not yet be ready to read some books to herself. Your daughter is only just starting to read independently; it takes a year or so for even the brightest seven-year-old to have enough experience of working out words and meanings for it to have become effortless. During this stage of reading development, series books can be the best things she can read because, while she is enjoying these simple stories, she is gradually increasing her:

  • ability to comprehend
  • stamina as a reader
  • expectation of pleasure from reading.

Series books are reassuring to new readers; familiarity with characters and predictable plots give children confidence, which makes them want to read more. There are so many series to choose from and some should be part of every child’s reading experience. Rather than ‘weaning her off’ what she is reading now, why not encourage your daughter to broaden her range by introducing her to series such as The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy, Olga the Polga by Michael Bond or Little Grey Rabbit by Alison Uttley. It is also beneficial to read aloud to her from series such as My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards which are ideal for her age yet may still be beyond her reading ability.