Monday, June 4, 2012

Transitional books, easy readers and chapter books

Easy readers: definition
  • Designed to be read by beginning readers
  • Serve as a transition between picture books and chapter books
Evaluation: text
  • Simple vocabulary
    o Not dumbed down
  • Shorter sentences
  • Sounds like natural language
    o Line breaks follow natural breaks in sentences
    * Not good for read aloud
    o Readability formulas
    * Fry formula
  • Some repeated phrases, repetitive refrains
  • Appropriate tone
    • May be slightly didactic
  • o Humour very appealing
  • Characters
    o Children (family life) and animals
  • Plot
    o Simple, direct storyline
    o No flashbacks or side stories* Starts quickly* Continues with action* Concludes satisfactory
    o Must be comprehensible to young child
  • Setting
    o Mostly familiar
    o May include some fantasy
Evaluation: illustrations
  • Interpret story literally
    o Not overwhelm
  • Colour
    o Adds interest
    o Not distract
  • White space
    o Used effectively
  • Type
    o Size
    o Legible
Evaluation: other considerations
  • Size of book
    o small
  • Colour
    o Appeals to child
  • Several stories
    o Look like a chapter book
  • Series
    o Familiar characters and settings (see below)
  • May not meet all literary standards
    o But meet needs of beginning readers
    o Provide a positive reading experience
  • Help children develop confidence in their reading skills
  • Provide opportunity for child to read to an adult
Chapter books: definition
  • Look like adult books
    o Introduce concept of reading a longer book
    o From 40 – 60 pages
  • Serve as a bridge to more complicated fiction
  • Each chapter tells a self-contained story
    o Very few illustrations
    o Not integral to text
  • Focus has moved almost completely to words
Evaluation of text
  • Characters
    o Many memorable
    o May change and develop
    o Children (family life) and animals
  • Plot
    o Important element
    o Quick start
    o Lots of action
    o Satisfactory ending
  • Writing style
    o Longer sentences
    o Expanded vocabulary
  • Setting
    o Usually realistic
    o May be hint of fantasy
When choosing Easy Readers and Chapter Books keep these points in mind:
  • How difficult is the theme/concept that is presented in the books?
  • Does the child have an interest in the subject area?
  • Is there any difficult figurative language in the book?
  • Look for a wide variety of themes/content:
    o E.g. mysteries, sports stories, family life
    o May help develop a reading interest for child
    • *  Can then be pursued in more complicated books
    • Look for series books:
      o Provide continuity of character, setting and writing style
      o Allow readers to anticipate what will happen next
      o Can make successful predictions as they read
    • Check the shelves carefully:
      o Some easy readers get shelved as picture books
      o Look for repetitive language patterns
    • Many authors/illustrators produce both picture books and easy readers.
    • Don’t use easy readers for read aloud.
    • Chapter books are usually suitable for read aloud.
      o But do review first!
    • Importance of covers cannot be overstated.

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