It can be hard to find books to make the transition to reading alone - but Roald Dahl, Allan Ahlberg and Andy Stanton all write exciting stories in simple words
I'm looking for books for my son, aged five and three-quarters. Ideally I'd like books that could get him reading more, but also books that can be read to him. At the moment I am reading Cressida Cowell's How to Train a Dragon series to him, which he loves, but we will have finished the series within the next month or so and I don't know what to move on to.The two questions here reflect a conundrum for most beginning readers and their parents. Understandably, in the early stages, reading comprehension races ahead of reading skill. A child who has had the benefit of hearing stories read aloud will be the best prepared for becoming an enthusiastic solo reader but, during the early stages of their own reading development, they may well be disheartened by the lack of excitement in what they can make sense of.
The other question is what I give him to read himself. The How to Train Your Dragon books are about right in terms of understanding, but they are too difficult for him to read himself. He needs to greatly improve his reading ability – he is ok on single syllable words, but struggles with anything longer. He has his school reading books, obviously, but these are not the most inspiring. A great problem I have always found is the difference between the level of the book being high enough to hold his attention, but the language being simple enough for him to read. The books he enjoys tend to be too difficult for him to read, the books he can read are too babyish to interest him. – Pocc_London
Finding a new series that can give you the same enjoyment as the enjoyment of the ebullient How to Train your Dragon series may be hard! It is exceptionally inventive and funny and it all takes place at such a pace that neither reader nor listener can get bored. Thinking of its key ingredients as a way of helping you find "what next", I'd single out humour and action.
Following those strands in the search for a new series, Andy Stanton's best-selling Mr Gum series which begins with You're a Bad Man, Mr Gum and currently runs to nine titles with more to come, is excellent slapstick humour with headlong and dramatic action, too.
Lemony Snicket's series A Series of Unfortunate Events could also work but it is more sophisticated and depends an a well-developed understanding of irony. For a quite different kind of series tying in with his liking of things Roman, you could try Caroline Lawrence's excellent Roman Mysteries series featuring a group of four children growing up in ancient Rome who set about trying to solve crimes. The series begins with The Thieves of Ostia but readers can launch into with any of the titles.