Skip to main content

New Reader Week and What I have Learned!

I didn't plan to do a post like this before kicking off "New Reader Week," but I feel like, despite shepherding two of my three children through the learning to read process and selling books to parents for over 13 years that are supposed to do the same thing, I LEARNED some stuff I didn't know!!!

I have my reviews this week organized by reading difficulty level - tomorrow starts off with a re-write of a post from September on some of my favorite sets and publishers of beginning to read materials, as well as a link to a site with a great list of "sight words" so you and your reader can make your own books.  Also, with great serendipity, I was able to add a link to a spectacular site that teaches you/kids how to make your own books!  Thanks to my sister-in-law for your thoughtfulness and timeliness in sending me that link!!

Next, I have a post on picture books that can double as reading primers and a bit on the history of Dr Seuss' foray into that realm, which was new to me, as were some technical words I picked up from  Tuesday is a tribute to one of my favorite picture books/beginning to read books - books I have already mentioned in six other posts! - as well as a review of a beginning to read series that is similar.

Wednesday is a new series I discovered and Thursday is the first, best, only chapter book (under 50 pages) for new readers that I know of.  Reading and reviewing this book helped me understand the progression of complexity in the world of beginning readers, which I can boil down to this simple, possibly obvious, distinction:  Beginning to read books, those categorized as such, are, on the whole, collections of short stories.  While they have chapters, often three or four, these chapters are really self-contained stories with their own beginning, middle and end. The jump to chapter books brings one continuous plot with a story arc that takes the reader through the book.  This signals a fluency in the reader that allows her/him to grasp the complexities of a longer story/plot.  I wish there were a shelf full of more books like the one I review on Thursday - I have so many parents, kids and reading specialists asking why there isn't a chapter book for kids who aren't ready for Junie B Jones and The Magic Tree House, the two dominant titles in the second grade readers series section?

And, finally, on Friday I have a beginning to read fairy tale book that I am so excited about!  I hope some of you out there will pick it up and share your thoughts (and your kid's) on it with me (as with every book I review, but especially this one for reasons you'll see in the review.)  I found so many great links and such a wealth of information about the author and related topics while writing this post. The author's site has links to the work of her three grown children who are truly amazing in their own right - I hope you'll check it out!

I had such a great time putting these reviews together (notice the proliferation of exclamation points...)  I hope you have half as much fun reading them!


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…