Main

Links

BYU Radio

Recent Posts

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.


Book Review: “The Sisters Grimm: Fairy Tale Detectives” by Michael Buckley

This May, Michael Buckley is celebrating the tenth anniversary of The Sisters Grimm by releasing new editions of the first three books in the series. There will be minor edits to the story, without changing the storyline, as well as brand new cover art.

 

The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives is the first novel in the series. It’s a coming-of-age story about two girls whose parents have gone missing, and the girls are now forced to lived with a woman claiming to be their grandmother. As decedents of the famous Brother Grimm, the girls take on the family business as fairy tale detectives. The fairy tale characters, or Everafters as they prefer to be called, are immortal beings who have settled in New York and built the town of Ferryport Landing. The Grimm sisters have to solve the mystery of who let a giant into town in order to save their grandmother from the giant who has taken her. 

Fans of the TV show Once Upon a Time will love The Sisters Grimm series as it is very similar in its incorporation of various fairy tales. Buckley has created an enjoyable story for middle grade audiences filled with both mystery and comedy. The series is more appropriate for intermediate readers who love fairy tale retellings with a mysterious twist. While the novel isn't perfect in character development or initial set-up, and perhaps stretches suspended disbelief too much, the book is still highly recommended for readers advancing beyond their first chapter books.

 

By Olivia Noli, Social Media Manager, WORLDS AWAITING


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 “Railhead” by Philip Reeve


Crossing the Great Network of trains that hurtle through the gates between planets and stealing what he needs to survive is just the way Zen wants to spend his time until the mysterious Raven hires him for a job. Revealing that Zen holds just the right DNA necessary for him to breach security on the Emperor’s impenetrable train, Raven is sure Zen has what it takes to steal an enigmatic object from the trains’ art collection. Knowing this job will set his family up for life, Zen agrees. But things don’t go as planned, leaving Zen facing danger at every turn. The only way out is to find a way to reveal Raven’s intent while staying out of the clutches of those hunting him, but even crafty Zen may not be able to beat these odds.

 

Author Philip Reeve has frequently proven his ability to push the bounds of the imagination, but this novel is his most ingenious yet. Part steampunk, part space opera, part dystopia, the novel defies categorizations beyond a broad science fiction label even though it’s as much adventure and mystery as fantastic. It’s incredible how the setting itself has a unique personality and objects that just might be part of the atmosphere in other works and are integral to the plot and theme. The ambiguous nature of the villain really builds tensions. And, the powerful main character connected to a world peopled with amazing characters both human and non-human, creates an engagingly well-constructed story that daring readers will devour.

 

Review By Olivia Noli, “Worlds Awaiting” Social Media Manager


*Contains mild violence.

 

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.



Haiku


One of the most ever present forms of poetry is the Haiku. This simple form is one of the most used in schools, and I’m sure that almost everyone has had the opportunity of writing one at some time or another. Traditionally this form, which consists of three lines with seventeen syllables written in a 5, 7, 5 syllable count pattern, is also a favorite of authors of poetry for children. A book of Haiku I enjoy is Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka and illustrated by Peter Reynolds. This book is a simple exploration of boys in nature that captures real experiences throughout a year in wonderfully crafted Haiku. Another fun book of Haiku is Hi Koo! by Jon Muth—which is about a panda named Koo. Note that the title of the book is saying hello to the panda and is not saying the name of the poetry form (Hi space Koo). I love the character of Koo and how each of the poems uses the poetry form to weave in the alphabet, the seasons, and the adventures of Koo and his friends. But if these great books are not enough, then there are other great books which explore Haiku and use the form to tell all kinds of interesting stories. A great example of this is Lee Wardlaw’s book Won-Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku. This book of connected Haiku poems tells the story of a cat from the time it is adopted at the shelter until it settles into its new home. This book shows Haiku at its best as each poem keeps the form intact and all connect together to tell the whole story. Another very innovative application of Haiku is Chris Crowe’s novel Death Coming up the Hill. This book in verse is constrained by syllable count as the main character Ashe recounts his perceptions of the Vietnam War not only by writing Haiku, but also dedicating one syllable to each of the soldiers killed in the deadliest year of the war. The book contains 976 Haiku with 16,592 syllables—the number of soldiers killed in Vietnam in 1968. If our chat here atWorlds Awaiting has made you eager to look for a little bit of poetry to spice up your day, you may want to take the time to check out these and other great books filled with Haiku.

 

Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Peter Reynolds.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2010.

 

Hi Koo! by Jon J. Muth. Scholastic, 2014.

 

Won-Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku, by Lee Wardlaw, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin.  Henry Holt and Co., 2011.

 

Won-Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku, by Lee Wardlaw, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin.  Henry Holt and Co., 2015.

 

Death Coming up the Hill by Chris Crowe. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2014.

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host of 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.

Book Review -- Girl Rising by Tanya Lee Stone. Penguin Random House, 2017


In 2013, Tanya Lee Stone saw the documentary film Girl Rising and quickly realized that there was another format in which to tell the stories of the amazing young women around the world who face obstacles to obtain a basic education. And thus, this book was born. Building on the field notes, photographs, and raw footage provided by the filmmakers, Stone brings to life the lives of girls from India, Nepal, Egypt, Cambodia, and other countries where there are approximately sixty-two million girls who are not in school. Organizing the stories around three barriers to education access (modern-day slavery, child marriage, and limited access), Stone, and the stories she tells, puts real faces to the challenges and beautiful successes of amazing young women.

 

The stories told in Girl Rising are full of pain and grief, but the ultimate message of this book is one of hope and courage. The stunning photographs are powerful reminders that there are real people behind the statistics. Stone outlines with basic infographics. She also places a strong emphasis on the arts in the lives of these girls, and she shows how they use dance, drawing, and poetry to convey their messages for the promise of change. The girls' ability to triumph over extreme odds to just go to school provides a sobering reality to many teens; Stone’s focus in the last chapter that covers the solutions anyone can use to change the world, are empowering. Tanya Lee Stone's vision for how the future of our globally connected world can build and support girls through education, is for every reader who cares about making a difference.


By Rachel Wadham, Host of WORLDS AWAITING

 

*Contains truthful representation of real life violence, assault, poverty.

 

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.


Sherlock Holmes


As a young teenager I, like many teens, developed a love of mystery stories. With that love, I also developed a fascination with one of the most endearing literary characters who still has books written about him and films as well, to this day—Sherlock Holmes. There seems to be something fundamentally interesting about a man who can solve mysteries by observing the world around him in such minute detail; it’s a testament to the power of the human brain and how it can be used.


I must say I still love a great Sherlock Holmes story. And, today there is no shortage of fun ones out there, especially for kids. I’d particularly like to recommend the Young Sherlock Holmes series by Andy Lane, beginning with the book titled Death Cloud. This series follows a teenaged Holmes as he begins his career as a detective and hones his deductive powers. Lane’s view of Holmes adds a whole new layer to the Sherlockian lore by telling us just what he was like as a kid. I also appreciate that Lane adds in some great historical detail and even some real life events when Holmes faces down the likes of John Wilkes Booth. 


While Lane’s stories take a more classic look at Holmes, one of my other Holmes recommendations takes a more nontraditional look. Nancy Springer gives us a female Holmes with the much younger sister of Sherlock named Enola. Enola has the same deductive prowess as her older brother and she uses it to solve complex and engaging mysteries. Stories like Springer’s extend a classic that we love into new territory. It’s exciting for readers because there is some familiarity there. But in the end, we are able to see things in such a new way. 


When I was a girl I couldn’t get enough of Sherlock Holmes. So, I can tell you, that if Springer’s books had been available when I was a girl, I would have been very excited to read about someone like me who could do exactly what I could do. There is no doubt that I would have loved having Sherlock’s AND Enola’s stories to sneak under my covers at night. So, if you and the readers you love are looking for a great mystery, you might want to take this recommendation from Rachel at Worlds Awaiting and check out how authors are reimagining the classics for today’s readers.

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host of WORLDS AWAITING


Death Cloud by Andrew Lane. Macmillan, 2010.

 

Red Fire (US title) Red Leech (UK title) by Andrew Lane. Macmillan, 2010.

 

Black Ice by Andrew Lane. Macmillan, 2011.

 

Fire Storm by Andrew Lane. Macmillan, 2011.

 

Snake Bite by Andrew Lane. Macmillan, 2012.

 

Knife Edge by Andrew Lane. Macmillan, 2013.

 

Stone Cold by Andrew Lane. Macmillan, 2014.

 

Night Break by Andrew Lane. Macmillan, 2015.

 

The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer. Penguin Philomel, 2006.

 

The Case of the Left-Handed Lady by Nancy Springer. Penguin Philomel, 2007.

 

The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets by Nancy Springer. Penguin Philomel, 2008.

 

The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan by Nancy Springer. Penguin Philomel, 2008.

 

The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer. Penguin Philomel, 2009.

 

The Case of the Gypsy Good-Bye by Nancy Springer. Penguin Philomel, 2010.

 

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.