Friends of the Library: Easy Readers come in a variety of levels
By Teri Andrews Rinne
Part Two in a six-part series on Children and Reading
Last week’s column introduced the very basic readers designed for the emergent reader. This week I will explore readers beyond this very basic level. Easy readers are often classified by level of difficulty, usually anywhere from step or level one to four.
Unfortunately, each publisher uses different criteria for determining what defines each level. However, some of the best books in the easy reader section of the Truckee Library do not subscribe to the level concept at all. My favorites include any and all books in the Dr. Seuss Beginner Books series. It wasn’t until I became a mother of an emergent reader that I truly and fully appreciated his genius. The appeal of Seuss books is timeless, and for good reason. “The Foot Book,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” and “The Cat in the Hat” are highly recommended for the emergent reader.
For more advanced beginning readers, Cynthia Rylant writes some of the best series in this genre, including “Mr. Putter and Tabby,” about an elderly man and his cat, “Henry and Mudge,” about a boy and his really big dog, and “Poppleton,” about a portly pig and his friends, including a llama named Cherry Sue. The stories in each of these series have delightful illustrations and storylines.
Two excellent older series which have stood the test of time are Peggy Parish’s “Amelia Bedelia” and “Nate the Great” by Marjorie Sharmat. Amelia Bedelia is a silly but charming housekeeper who takes instructions quite literally, always with hilarious results. Nate the Great is a pint-sized detective who solves mysteries with his trusted dog, Sludge.
Other more recently published favorites of mine are “Good Night, Good Knight” and its sequels by Shelley Moore Thomas, the Fly Guy series by Tedd Arnold, the Fancy Nancy readers by Jane O’Connor and the Elephant and Piggy books by Mo Willems. Arnold, O’Connor, and Willems are better known for their best-selling picture books, so it’s wonderful to see them make forays into this new genre!
Conversely, Thomas started out with easy readers and has recently introduced her lovable knight and dragon characters in picture-book formats. These genre crossovers provide good continuity for fledging readers who are already familiar with characters or illustrations from their preschool picture books.
As your child is learning to read, it is important to keep in mind your support, attention and praise is absolutely crucial in the process. Educational consultant Priscilla Lynch shares the following useful tips: “If your child is learning to read and asks for a word, give it immediately so the meaning of the story is not interrupted. DO NOT ask your child to sound out the word. On the other hand, if your child initiates the act of sounding out, don’t intervene. If your child is reading along and makes what is called a miscue, listen for the sense of the miscue. If the word “road” is substituted for the word “street,” for instance, no meaning is lost.
Don’t stop reading for a correction. If the miscue makes no sense (for example, “horse” for “house”), ask your child to reread the sentence because you’re not sure you understand what has just been read. Above all else, enjoy your child’s growing command of print and make sure you give her lots of praise. You are your child’s first teacher ” and the most important one. Praise from you is critical for further risk-taking and learning!”
Next week we will move beyond the easy readers and explore the options for those ready to graduate to “stepping stone” or early chapter books, designed for readers age nine and younger. They may not be quite ready for Harry Potter yet, but there are plenty of books to keep them busy until they are.
Truckee Library, 10031 Levon Ave. 582-7846
Monday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Tuesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Wednesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tuesday Toddler Time at 10:30 a.m. (ages 2 to 3 years)
Babes in Bookland on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. (ages 6 months to 2 years)
Storytelling with Mrs. Fix on Thursdays at 11:15 a.m. (ages 3 years and up)
Spanish Storytime on Fridays at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (ages 2 and up)
Bookshelf’s Dry Camp Book Club at the Library
Meets monthly at the Library. Participants at the book group meeting will receive a coupon for 15 percent off a one-time book purchase at the Bookshelf at Hooligan Rocks. Everyone is welcome.
Now on display at the library:
Portraits by Truckee artist Raphael Jolly
Above the Fireplace: Sand Harbor in oils by Linda D’Toole
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