Have you noticed how difficult it is to find reading books, for children who struggle to learn to read? Reading problems usually become apparent when a child reaches age 6 or 7. By this time, the books you might have asked him to read at age 4, are just plain insulting.
I Wrote a set of Reading Books for 7 year olds!
Working as a Reading Therapist, I needed very special reading material for my students, because most of them were text phobic and slow to grasp reading. I used reading cards and short well illustrated pages of relevant text, which helped.
Eventually, I went a step further, and wrote a structured set of reading books. These reading books have age-appropriate stories, but more challenging vocabulary. The sentence construction is also more complex, but I have made sure the children will be willing and able to read them.
The ‘Adventures in Bessiebuss’
My set of reading books is designed for children who struggle with reading, especially those who have been learning to read, using a phonetic system. They are also a valuable aid for children who need a structured approach. By this I mean that the words contained in any one book, are the words we have been practising.
Each of the books contains only the words we have practised, and introduces just one new vowel, and one new consonant sound, and explores all the ways in which these chosen sounds are written. E.g. ‘Fun in a Pedal Boat’ practises sound oe: written oe oa o ow. It also practises sound m: written m mm mb.
A Structured Set of Books
The most effective way of learning to read, is to read! But if you have a child who refuses to read with you, this is a problem. However, if you could do some preparation, and practise the sounds and words he will encounter, you will enable him to make progress. This in turn, will make him more willing to practise!
What! No pictures?
My books are also original because they have no pictures. If I ask a struggling reader to read to me, I sit opposite him and watch his eyes. They are constantly scanning the book illustrations for clues. This is not reading. Although an effective way of helping some children, this merely provides another distraction for struggling readers.
Realising this, I removed the pictures from my early drafts, and engaged a graphic designer to make my books beautiful, working solely with colour and the symbols for the target sounds. She made a wonderful job of the design, and the children don’t notice that they are rehearsing the target sounds, wherever their eyes rest on the page.
My books are also different because they require a parent or teacher, to move the story along, by reading a page of the book to their child. The child then reads a carefully constructed page, which mirrors the parent page and practises the target sounds.
As this page is within a child’s reading ability and contains nothing unfamiliar, it develops his confidence.
I am also developing a set of Task Sheets for each book, to provide practice for the target sounds, before any reading takes place. The sheets are colourful, easy and fun, and include Mind Mapping, a valuable way of aiding recognition.
Reading is the recognition of symbols embedded in words. If a child has played with the symbols and words on the Task Sheets, he is more likely to recognise them in the reading book.
I want every child to be able to read!
My books are ideal for practising reading with children who struggle, and make a wonderful stepping-stone to the world of books, that they would otherwise be denied.