Books. Written to be read, hard and soft covers, doorways to new worlds and also for my daughter the symbol of her achievement. Thanks to Chris Drew, my mentor in so many ways, I was re-introduced to the Key Words series. What a great series!
Visit the Ladybird homepage and read their ideas about why the series works for young readers (here). One of the benefits they identify is that of giving the feel of reading a real book. Hands up if you think THAT is a good idea.
This morning I was able to leave for work a little later than usual. My sprog and I had some slow time. She hit the colouring book and I hung out the washing. Then I heard this little voice say “I’m already doing my practice”. Sure enough, there she was, seated at her desk practicing her handwriting in one of the books she got for christmas (thanks Alexis).
There is little more rewarding for a parent than to have their child do something we would like them to be doing without having to ask. I left her to it. Of course we need to reward good behaviour, but I feel that allowing something like the 10 minute practice to be viewed as something normal and everyday is vital to goal I have of developing my daughter’s autonomous English reading ability. “O.K, I’ll come and have a look in a minute”.
After completing the final short passage of the latest Let’s Read print (home produced), I pulled out the Key Words 1b book and asked her if she would like to try it. With me holding the book and pointing to the words she launched into a fluent reading of the Peter and Jane story. There were pauses as she stopped to figure out the reading of some words and I did nudge her along, but on the whole it was her reading. About half way through she took charge and took the book from me. It is quite a long story, and challenging for a young child’s attention span, but she finished it in one go.
I told her that I was very proud of her for reading a whole book. It didn’t even come close to relating my true feelings, but I didn’t want to overdo it. “You can read a real book”, I told her. She seemed to be quite impressed with that herself.
The series is not something that can be used on its own, in my opinion. I use the jolly phonics series to introduce and practice new sounds. I use their support materials to enforce the learning and produce my own materials to provide regular practice in the short time we have available each day. The ladybird books are realistic goals. They are separate from the phonics and practice series and provide graded reading experience that makes the practice come to life. They are also inexpensive. What a great series.