I am a huge fan of the Usborne Beginners series. We have a large collection of the Beginners books and I have found them to be perfect for read alouds as well as brilliant beginner readers. My daughter used a lot of the books in this series as readers and they really suited her as she found the topics more interesting than lots of more traditional readers. So last year when I was looking for more advanced books I thought we could try some more in the Usborne Reading series.
I initially ordered 2 books in the Young Reading series 2 range (The Shocking story of Electricity and the Story of Castles) and although these books are great readers and very informative they were too easy for her – photo below is from the book Story of a Castle a series 2 book.
But we liked the style of writing and the way non-fiction topics were covered for young readers, we just needed a slightly harder version. We decided to stick with the range and I ordered her a series 3 book to try – Pompeii.
The Pompeii book was a massive hit with both my kids and great reading practice for my daughter. She was interested in the historical themed books in their range and wanted to try more so she was thrilled when Usborne sent her 6 more to try out. All Historical themes. Perfect for us – while she is gaining confidence, practicing her reading she is also learning about historical figures and events (plus her younger brother loves listening to the stories).
The books are all well written. There are a few challenging words (often the names of places and people) but she always manages the books by herself.
They are books about historical events and people so they do deal with death, sickness and disasters but so far we have not found the details too graphic or upsetting (but please do bear in mind some of the text might require a parents presence for younger highly sensitive children). Below is a page from the Florence Nightingale book.
Personally I have stayed away from certain titles at this stage as my daughter is sensitive (eg:The Holocaust and Anne Frank – I know these would be very upsetting for her and I am rather leaving this sensitive subject matter for when she is a bit older.)
And as I have come to expect in the Usborne reading series they always include brilliant illustrations and often lovely colourful photographs.
Also at the end of the books they include a one page timeline of the historical subject which is always a great recap of the order of events as mentioned within the book. And a number of the books also include maps showing routes taken.
We are ALL really enjoying this series of books and as a home-educating mom I am finding them great starting points for fascinating discussions. The kids are learning about history in a very relaxed manner (often curled up on the couch reading a book with me). They are loving the books and keep asking me for more in the series.
I am probably going to order some of the fictional titles in this range – I am just battling to decide which ones to order – possibly The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or Anne of Green Gables.
And the titles that we currently have on our bookshelf are these ones.
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