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Reading Independence

There is something wonderful about the ability to read. It is a wonder that we can see marks on a page and decode them into language that has meaning. As a librarian and teacher, I love to see the world of reading open up to children. Reading begins with the connection between oral sounds and written words, or with children “memorizing” and repeating things they hear. From there we move onto the mechanics of decoding where children really start interpreting the written word. This is a marvelous point in children’s reading development when they move into a realm that offers them more independence as a reader.


However, even as children become more independent in their reading, they have not acquired a complete mastery. For this reason, children at an earlier level may not be quite ready for highly complex books with lots of words. To meet the needs of readers at this developmental stage, the publishing world offers a lot of great books that are just right! In the field of children’s literature, we call these books easy readers, or beginning readers, to broaden out intermediate readers. Each of these designations indicate a group of books that contain more words than a typical picture book, but they still have pictures that support the text. 


A lot of easy readers are also divided into brief chapters to help children begin learning the structures that they will experience when they move into novels. Even though you may not have known what these books were called, I’m pretty sure you’re already familiar with classics like Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat or Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad series; or even one of my childhood favorites, Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff. All of these books are still classics today, and we have some amazing modern easy readers as well. 


One of the big trends in the market today is for publishers to take a beloved picture book character and translate them into an easy reader format. Among the beloved characters who have transitioned from picture books to easy readers are Fancy Nancy and Pete the Cat. Readers who grew up with these characters will be delighted by their new adventures as they continue to grow. Along with these familiar friends, there are also some great characters that just appear in easy readers. Among my favorites are Elephant and PiggieCork and Fuzz, and Ballet Cat. So no matter if it’s a classic, a favorite, or even a brand new friend, there is no limit to the amazing books out there that can help readers build skills and confidence while they enjoy a great story at the same time!

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING


Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. Random House, 1957.

Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel. Harper Collins, 1970.

Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel. Harper Collins, 1972.

Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff. Harper Collins, 1958.

Fancy Nancy: Time for Puppy School by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Robin Glasser. Harper Collins, 2017

Fancy Nancy: Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Robin Glasser. Harper Collins, 2014

Pete the Cat: Play Ball! Created by James Dean. Harper Collins, 2013.

Pete the Cat: Pete’s Big Lunch! Created by James Dean. Harper Collins, 2013.

Elephant and Piggie: Today I Will Fly! By Mo Willems. Hyperion Books for Children, 2007.

Elephant and Piggie: There is a Bird on Your Head! By Mo Willems. Disney-Hyperion, 2007.

Cork and Fuzz: Finders Keepers by Dori Chaconas, illustrated by Lisa McCue. Viking Books, 2009.

Cork and Fuzz: The BabySitters by Dori Chaconas, illustrated by Lisa McCue. Viking Books, 2010

Ballet Cat The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea. Disney-Hyperion, 2015.

Ballet Cat What’s Your Favorite Favorite? by Bob Shea. Disney-Hyperion, 2017.

 

DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.



Book Review: “The Passion of Dolssa” by Julie Berry

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry.  Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016.

 

Botille is satisfied helping her sisters run their tavern, until she finds a girl dying on the side of the road. Moved with compassion, Botille rescues Dolssa even though she is fleeing the Church that has branded her a heretic. Keeping Dolssa safe from prying eyes is a challenge, but when miracles of healing spread through the town they can’t hide Dolssa’s real power. It’s is soon clear that Dolssa’s presence has put the whole town in danger until they commit to renounce the heretic and repent. Unable to do anything but support Dolssa, Botille and her family find they must made difficult choices that could force them to lose everything.

 

Framed as a hidden record recently revealed, Berry creates a rich novel that delves into the world of female mystics and the inquisition. The setting of 12th-century France is emphasized by the story’s shifting viewpoints which reveal the plot from the main characters’ views along with a number of supporting and minor characters weighing in. Some of the language use and tone tends to the modern, but the integration of select foreign phrases adds to the historical context. The ambiguity in the ending may be unsettling to some readers even though it adds greatly to the mysterious context that Berry has built. With much to say about the role of faith, family, and religion in the lives of women, this novel is a unique addition to the cannon that will appeal to devotees of vibrant historical fiction.

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING


*Contains mild yet frank depictions of violence and human sexuality in a historical context.

 

Find this and other book reviews at: http://byucbmr.com/

 

DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.



Book Review: “Dream a Little Dream” by Kerstin Gier

Dream A Little Dream by Kerstin Gier.  Henry Holt & Co., 2015.

 

Liv has spent most of her fifteen years moving, and it’s her fervent hope that a move to London will give her an ideal home. When she steps off the plane, her plans are dashed when she finds that her mother has met a man and Liv and her sister will be welcoming a new stepbrother and sister. Things get even weirder when Liv meets her new stepbrother and his buddies in a dream doing a dark ritual in a graveyard. Soon the lines between her real and dream worlds start to mesh as Liv finds out the boys have made a pact with a demon. Since Liv is the one who can help them out of their sticky situation, she must figure out who to trust while unraveling the mysteries in her dreams.

 

The worlds and characters that Gier builds are vivid and interesting. The London setting will be familiar and the dream worlds are described thoroughly, allowing readers to be drawn in. The character of Liv particularly is lively and engaging even if she makes her adjustments to the complexities of her situation with ease and grace, an emotional state that seems totally in line with her character but may be less realistic in real life. The supporting cast of characters, particularly the boys, add depth and uniqueness to the story. Despite the inclusion of this book in a trilogy, the end draws the story together but leaves a good opening for more, allowing readers to feel satisfied, yet interested in upcoming adventures. Fans of the Ruby Red Trilogy (Ruby RedSapphire BlueEmerald Green) will feel as at home with Liv as they do with Gwen.

 

Find this and other book reviews at: http://byucbmr.com/

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING


DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.



Opportunities for Reading – Spring and Summer

My family decided to move to the country during the summer between my fourth- and fifth-grade school year. While the house was being toured, our mother would take us to the city library and we would read for a couple hours. Every week we would take a new book home with us and exchange it the very next week for a new one. Even though there were a lot of things my mom could have done with us during those times, I am grateful that she decided to take us to the library. When parents take the time to bring their children to the library, it reinforces good reading and learning habits and children have the opportunity to become independent in bringing reading materials home. Teachers provide access to a variety of reading materials and help children become excited about reading, but parents set the example and the precedent for bringing books into the home.


For the month of April, our Worlds Awaiting Facebook and Instagram pages highlighted nonfiction science materials as well as books centered on physical and metaphorical growth. The spring and summer seasons offer many opportunities to have hands-on learning experiences outside. But when those showers come, and other times, too, take the chance to head over to your local library and pick up a good book! There are so many worlds out there waiting to be discovered, and your local library is a great place to start.

 

By Olivia Noli, Social Media Manager, WORLDS AWAITING


Sign up for our monthly newsletter at http://byucbmr.com

 

DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.


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