11 Plus Reading Boosts

Updated:May 10, 2024
Author:Creative Hare

Hello parents!

Are you looking for ways to spark a genuine love for reading in your child? Whilst there is no official 11 Plus reading list, there are a range of books that are recommended for children to read. A range of classic and fiction books will expose your child to new ideas, ambitious vocabulary and new and interesting characters. We’ll dive in to all the ways that reading can boost 11 Plus success and beyond!


Encouraging your child’s reading habits not only opens up new worlds for them but also enhances their cognitive abilities. So, let’s look into some effective strategies to encourage your child to read more and explore a variety of genres, something that every parent wants!


Let’s Make Reading Fun!


Lead by Example: Children often mirror their parents’ behaviours. So, let them catch you buried nose-deep in a book. Show them that reading is not just a task but a relaxing, fun adventure. Perhaps you could set aside some time each week for reading.


Create a Cosy Reading Nook: Have a special reading corner filled with fluffy pillows, soft blankets and of course, don’t forget to add in some books. Make it a comfy retreat where your child can escape into the pages of their favourite stories.


Make Reading a Ritual: Include reading into your daily routine. Whether it’s bedtime stories  or cosying up with a book on lazy Sunday afternoons, establish reading as a favourite part of your day. 


Let Them Choose: Offer a diverse selection of books and let your child pick what piques their interest. From fantasy to scientific discoveries, there’s a book for every curious mind, it’s just a matter of finding the right fit. 


Mix It Up: Encourage exploration beyond familiar genres. Introduce your child to a variety of literary landscapes—adventure, mystery, science fiction, historical fiction, biographies—the possibilities are endless! Audiobooks can be a fun, low key way of introducing a new genre, especially if your child tends to get hooked on one particular kind of book.  


Join a Book Club: Engage your child in a reading community. Whether it’s a local library group or an online book club for children, sharing their reading experiences with their peers and teachers can be motivating. 


The Science Behind Reading

Now, let’s check out the world of neuroscience to understand how reading shapes young minds:


Brain Workout:

Reading is like a gym for the brain. When your child reads, their brain lights up with activity, stimulating various regions responsible for language processing, comprehension and imagination.

Enhanced Vocabulary:

Regular reading exposes children to a rich array of words, expanding their vocabulary effortlessly. The more words they know, the better they can express themselves and understand the world around them.

 Improved Focus and Concentration:

In today’s fast-paced digital age, cultivating focus is crucial but it’s not easy.  Reading demands sustained attention, helping children develop concentration skills that are invaluable in academics and beyond.

Empathy Development:

As children immerse themselves in stories, they step into the shoes of diverse characters, experiencing different perspectives and emotions. This fosters empathy, nurturing their social and emotional intelligence.

Critical Thinking:

Reading isn’t just about absorbing words; it’s about processing information, analysing situations and making connections. It sharpens children’s critical thinking skills. It also empowers them to navigate challenges with confidence.

Imagination Unleashed:

Books are journeys through different worlds. When children read, they exercise their creative muscle,  picturing vivid landscapes, characters and scenarios that ignite their imagination.


Stress Reduction:

Reading isn’t just mentally stimulating; it’s also a fantastic stress reliever. Losing oneself in a good book transports children to a tranquil place, easing worries and promoting relaxation. This is why reading for pleasure is such a great antidote to exam pressure. 



Introducing your child to both modern and classic fiction can enrich their reading experiences. But it also helps them excel in their exams. Here are some top picks for both modern and classic fiction.  


If your child is reluctant to try a ‘different’ kind of book, you could play the audiobook version during a car journey or at teatime. This gives your child a chance to immerse themselves in the story, without too much effort on their part!


Modern Fiction


Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling:

This beloved series effortlessly combines adventure, magic, and friendship, making it a perfect choice for young readers. Encourage reluctant readers by emphasising the captivating plot twists and relatable characters.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan:

With its blend of Greek mythology, humour and action-packed adventures, this series is very popular. Reluctant readers may find the fast-paced narrative and witty text fun to read.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio:

This heartwarming story about kindness, empathy and acceptance is a modern classic. Its short chapters and multiple perspectives make it accessible for reluctant readers. 

Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson:

An Amazon adventure set in the lush nature of Brazil. This book is filled with mystery and adventure. Maia, an orphan, can’t wait to reach her distant relatives a thousand miles up the Amazon. She imagines a loving family with whom she will share great adventures. 

When Life Gives you Mangoes by Kereen Getten:

Experience the twists and charm of small island life. Clara enjoys escaping to a secret hideout with her best friend Gaynah. A visitor from England causes havoc and there’s an old family secret to solve. 


Kestrel Island by A.B Martin:

This book combines adventure and mystery. ‘In a sleepy English seaside town, Sophie Watson is enjoying a peaceful holiday in the sunshine. But when she befriends a mysterious and charismatic girl called Sienna, she is drawn into a heart-stopping adventure.’

Classic Fiction  

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White:

This beloved classic follows the friendship between a pig named Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte. Its charming characters and timeless themes of friendship and sacrifice make it a must-read for children of all ages.

The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis:

Transporting readers to the magical land of Narnia, this timeless series is brimming with adventure, imagination. A fantastical world and memorable characters.


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett:

Set in the enchanting English countryside, this classic tale follows the transformation of a spoiled orphan girl named Mary Lennox as she discovers a hidden garden. Uncover the mystery and magic of the garden’s secrets.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland  by Lewis Carroll:

This whimsical tale follows Alice as she falls down a rabbit hole into a fantastical world filled with peculiar creatures and nonsensical adventures. Its imaginative storytelling and quirky characters make it a timeless classic for readers of all ages.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson:

Embark on a thrilling pirate adventure with young Jim Hawkins as he sets sail in search of buried treasure. Its swashbuckling action and suspenseful plot twists will captivate adventure-loving readers.

For more exciting books check out my Summer Reading List blog here.

Tips To Broaden Your Child’s Reading Taste

  1. Start Small: Begin with audiobooks to ease readers into the story. Gradually increase the listening as their confidence and interest grows
  2. Offer Choice: Let your young reader choose books that align with their interests and                    preferences. Whether it’s fantasy, mystery or adventure, finding the right book can make all the difference.
  3. Read Together: Make reading a shared experience by reading aloud together or taking turns reading chapters. This not only fosters bonding but also provides encouragement. If the thought of this fills you with dread, don’t worry as you’re not alone. Choosing a book that you’ll both enjoy may make the experience more inviting.
  4.  Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge and celebrate small wins along the way, whether it’s finishing a chapter or discovering a new favourite book. Positive reinforcement can go a long way in boosting confidence and motivation. 


By introducing both modern and classic fiction you can help your child unlock a world of imagination and adventure.


So, there you have it—the magic of reading unveiled! By fostering a love for books in your child, you’re igniting their imagination. You’re also growing their brains in amazing ways supported by science.

Remember, the journey of a thousand pages begins with a single chapter. So, dive into the enchanting world of literature with your child and watch as their minds blossom like flowers in a garden of words. 


Happy reading!

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