I am on a mission. A mission to find engaging easy readers. A mission to find easy readers that are actually easy to read. A mission to find easy readers that will actually be read by the children who need them.
Many books marketed as easy readers are not only deathly dull but hard to read as well. This is not a good combination for a child just beginning to read. It seems that many publishers think that a large font makes a book easy to read.Never mind that the story is full of multi-syllabic words or stories that are hard to follow.
I love it when I stumble upon books that truly are easy to read. And I say stumble because more often than not, these books are simply well written and illustrated picture books. They are located among the stacks and stacks of picture books not separated into the easy reader section. The text will be simple and the illustrations will greatly aid in the comprehension of the action.
I’ve always found it important to find such books but I’m extra motivated now as Katherine is reading with more and more enthusiasm and skill. Our new favorite easy reader is Mama by Jeantte Winter, the true story of Owen, a baby hippo separated from his Mama by the Indian Ocean tsunami. Even though the only words uttered in the story are ‘mama’ , ‘mmm’ and ‘baby’ (think Jez Albourgh’s Hug), the reader understands both the emotions and facts of the tale that find Owen under the loving care of thegiant tortoise Mzee when he is rescued and taken to a nearby zoo.
Katherine was so thrilled to have read this story all on her own- a story that begged for discussion, just like a ‘big girl book.’ In fact, she talked so much about it that I went back to the library to find other stories about the same animals. I found some wonderful non-fiction titles along with an easy reader. Unfortunately, the easy reader proved my point. The illustrations were lack luster and the text was far more advanced than an early reader could tackle.
I guess for now, my boycott of the early reader section will continue…
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