Children's Books discussion


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message 1: by Leslie (new)

Leslie (onthemove) I wanted to get some feedback from the group about easy readers. My son who will be 5 years old in early Sept. Is starting to read. So I was told to start him with the level one easy readers. When checking them out at our local library, I noticed a big difference between them. Some have two to three sight words per page and they are perfect for him. When he reads them he say " I read a whole book". Some that are still labeled level 1 he is not able to read because the words are to hard and there are to many on a page.

Any advice on how to pick the best type. Do people stick with a specific author or publisher to make sure you get the correct one?

Any other advice about building the confidence while still having fun?


message 2: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 1077 comments Leslie, I read a book recently, and I wish I could remember what they called it, but it listed all the reading levels, and there was actually one level even more basic than level 1. Anybody?

message 3: by ABC (new)

ABC (mary6543) | 341 comments Well, I started ds with Animal Antics: Now I'm Reading!. Bob Books First! Level A, Set 1 are very similar. He did the first level, but when we got to the second level it was too easy, IMO.

I am not sure what your question is? There are tons of easy readers. I would pick what he is interested in and something that is approximately his level.

message 4: by Wilhelmina (new)

Wilhelmina Jenkins | 229 comments My favorite Easy Readers are Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggy books - I Am Invited to a Party!, There Is a Bird on Your Head!, Today I Will Fly!, and a whole bunch more. My older grandson, who is now 9 and sails through Percy Jackson and Harry Potter books, still loves these and shares them with his baby brother. They are a hoot.

message 5: by Leslie (new)

Leslie (onthemove) Great advice, yes I know he would miss the mommy time. When we read it is always three books. Two big longer books and one smaller book.

I am glad to know I am not the only one with this issue.

Thanks for the tips!

message 6: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6183 comments Mod
We didn't even use what my library calls "Youth Readers." I figured my sons had plenty of instruction at school. We just kept on reading whatever books caught our eye, from whatever shelves, together. If there seemed to be books, or parts of books, I thought they could handle, I offered them a chance to read to me. "Do you want to be the bear, and I'll be the girl and the narrator?"

But in general we kept reading special and cherished by keeping it separate from tasks or accomplishments. School learning, after all, is a small part of one's life - I've successfully raised my sons to be life-long active learners, interested in anything & everything.

message 7: by Michele (new)

Michele | 181 comments We just bought something really really really easy that our kids were interested in and read them over and over together, pointing out the letters and the sounds, etc. But really, that was right when they were beginning to read. My son loved the Biscuit books. As a librarian, I like the Mo Willems books too.

message 8: by ABC (new)

ABC (mary6543) | 341 comments Here is an idea: "We Both Read" series. There is also the You Read to Me, I'll Read to You: Very Short Stories to Read Together series. You both read.

message 9: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments Lots of great suggestions. I think it really depends on the child. With my oldest, I really did what Cheryl suggests and did most of the reading and let her just read small parts. And kept getting books we love. With my second (who is now 6 and is a better reader than my first was...although my oldest is doing quite well in school in both English and Spanish reading ... and I'd never tell either of them that the second child is a better reader than her older sister was at the same age...besides I don't think in the long run it will matter... they will both end up loving reading, I"m sure!) I do check out the easy readers because she really, really wants to read books by herself with no help and they allow her to do that. She wants to read 2-4 books each day by herself and so this summer I brought a stack home from school of easy readers and have also checked out a few from the library.

Some books do have labels on the back that tell you an approximate level. (More specific than the Easy Reader Level 1)... from levels 1 up to 18. Basically, in most sets of books a level 1 up to 4 or 6 is considered kindergarten level and will have a few words or will have a bunch of repetition. After about level 8 it begins to include slightly longer sentences and less repetition, but still pretty easy. After level 14, they become more of a story but still with many sight words or easy to sound out words. There are lots of series that will be like that, although as I'm tired now, most of the series/publishers are slipping my mind at the moment.

message 10: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 7047 comments Mod
Another idea is to read anecdotal or episodic children's books with your children (or to your children). Books like Astrid Lindgren's The Children of Noisy Village or Happy Times in Noisy Village have short episodic chapters that could easily be used for beginning reading practice (and they are fun and a bit challenging). If you are reading the book(s) with your child, you could explain words and phrases that he/she is finding difficult (you could even create a word/vocabulary list for him/her).

The Emil series by the same author (Astrid Lindgren) would also work, especially for little boys, Emil in the Soup Tureen, Emil Gets into Mischief, Emil and His Clever Pig, That Emil, Emil's Little Sister, Emil's Sticky Problem (there might be others still as well).

message 11: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6183 comments Mod
My library has a chart that explains their system - and they put stickers on the books' spines so that no matter what the publisher says, a 1 is a 1 according to the library. They only use 4 or 5 levels.

I'm sure it does depend on the child. I like Jenny's daughter wanting ownership of her accomplishments - you go girl!

message 12: by David (last edited Jul 12, 2011 10:29AM) (new)

David | 101 comments The last library I worked at also had an Easy reader section where the books were put into their own level system by a librarian. This worked much better than having no clear franework as to what level various publisher's series easy readers books truly were.

That said, if you find a particular easy reader publishers series that works for your reader, you can stick to it. Many of the publisher series have word lists in the back which can be very helpful.

I agree with Kirei that the Bob books can be good for very beginning readers. Two phonics sets that library parents liked were Alphabet Town and the Jane Moncure series on each letter, including some on long and short vowel sounds.

I totally agree with Chandra that Alphabet books can be very helpful, having clear pictures and usually small vocabularies. A wide variety at various difficulty levels exist. A nunber of authors use few words in their books. A few I think of are Mick Inkpen (Kipper), Jim Arnosky, and Douglas Florian, but there are others. The Biscuit series is great too.

I love the Mo Willems easy readers, especially the Elephant and Pig series. I also enjoy the funny Minnie and Moo ones by Denys Cazet.

I'll also chime in, as a longtime Youth Services Librarian: keep reading light and fun. Taking turns reading a book is a winning idea!

message 13: by Michele (new)

Michele | 181 comments David wrote: The last library I worked at also had an Easy reader section where the books were put into their own level system by a librarian. This worked much better than having no clear franework as to what level various publisher's series easy readers books truly were...

As long as the library picks one system and sticks to it. At my school, the first grade teachers want the DRA level and the 2nd grade teachers use Accelerated Reader. 4th grade is crazy about Lexile. They don't always agree with each other. Quite frustrating for me and the parents that ask me about it. For my own kids, and when I am recommending to kids, I just treat each book individually.

message 14: by David (new)

David | 101 comments Michelle, that sounds very frustrating. Having one system is certainly the way to go if possible, which is more possible in a public library children's department. As challenging as it is for librarians to deal with multiple systems, it is frustrating for parents, particularly those with children in different grades, to have to deal with all these different rating systems, whether it's publisher's reading levels or other reading level systems.

message 15: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments That does sound frustrating...but there are charts available that show how the different leveling systems overlap... the other issue is that there are a couple of different ways to level books and depending on the system used, books can be given fairly different levels. With the adoption of the new common core (for math and language arts) in most of the 50 states, my understanding is that the movement will be toward lexiles...but total adoption of that is still about 4 years out. But maybe there is hope for a more common way to level books in the relatively near future. :)

message 16: by Michele (new)

Michele | 181 comments Jenny wrote: "...books can be given fairly different levels..."

Yes! One system says the book is good for first grade, another 3rd! I just pull my best Pirates of the Caribbean imitation and tell everyone that these labeling systems are "just guidelines" and that they need to test the book by reading a few pages! :)

I have a big poster by my desk with one of those comparison charts, but just having the discussion again and again gets, well, annoying really. But we are working through it!

And, not to get off topic too much, but Lexile is the system that really drives me nuts, because so many people I deal with seem to think that it is an simple number range, because that is how it shows up in the library catalog. However, the Lexile website even indicates that age appropriateness also needs to be considered. My problem here is not primarily with easy readers, but more with high level reading 4th graders. For example, the parents/teachers want a lengthy list of books with lexiles over 1000...and my own daughter was supposed to read books at 1500 in 6th grade...right. Have you looked at that list? Crazy. Then there are some great picture books with lexiles over 1000, but if I sort the list by lexiles then the younger kids don't get the book because it's too high, and the teachers don't want the older kids to to read it because its a picture book! gahh!!!!

message 17: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments I always teach my students the 5 finger rule...for a chapter book, read a page (for a picture book, you should read 2-3 pages). Each time you see a word that you don't know...put up a finger. If you reach 5 fingers then that book is probably too hard. (Key word there being probably...some motivated readers can struggle through very challenging books...)

I think leveling is helpful...but as you point out, it's only a guideline...and obviously, just because you can read at the seventh grade level doesn't mean that everything at that level is going to interest you OR be appropriate for you.

message 18: by Leslie (new)

Leslie (onthemove) Thanks Jenny, that makes sense. Some books are easy and he stays motivated, others he just wants to get through.

When we read a book he has already memorized(Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What do you see?) he was bored and didn't want to finish reading it.
It is just a fine balancing act to find books he loves and can try to read. Any book with sight words that me knows and reads well are great, but I need him to try to sound out the other words also.

It is so much fun watching him read and enjoy reading.
I am still looking for the laugh out loud books. They are rare!

message 19: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6183 comments Mod
Mo Willems makes me laugh out loud!

message 20: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5657 comments Mod
I'm mostly familiar with the I Can Read series, some of them are better than others but you can find a few gems. They go by level. I believe Level 1 is the first for early readers, i.e.:

message 21: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5657 comments Mod
Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "Mo Willems makes me laugh out loud!"

Yes, he is a genius! :-)

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