Super Hammy is a Youtube Star!

Super Hammy flies on Youtube!

I had a lot of fun visiting the offices of DC Canada Education Publishing in Ottawa recently – the home of Super Hammy – My First Reading Series.
It was a pleasure to meet the talented team behind the Super Hammy project – Mei (the director of publishing), Leonard (Senior Editor) and Mary Ellen who does French translation.  Thank you to Doreen who filmed and edited the video.

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Have a look at the video –

 

This is a series of 15 books I’ve written and illustrated that can be used by parents and teachers for children who are just beginning to read, or parents can read them to children who are not yet readers. They’re perfect for preschool, kindergarten and grade one.
They feature a super hero hamster, his friend Little Mouse and bad guy, Bad Cat. The stories are simple and funny. These are the kinds of books I would have loved to use when I was a kindergarten and Reading Recovery teacher.
The books can be purchased individually or as a set through DC Canada Education Publishing.

Teach Reading With the “Does it look right?” Prompt

“Does it look right?” is another important prompt or reading strategy that you can use to teach your child how to read.  

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What does it mean? Your child is reading a new sentence and comes to a word she doesn’t know. She makes an attempt and says a word that’s not quite right. With this prompt, what you’re asking is does the word on the page look like the word she just said or read? You’re teaching your child to check the word.  Are all the letters there to make the sounds that just came out of her mouth?
Let’s look at this sentence:
“Mother baked a tart for Grandma.”

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What if your child says pie instead of tart because she looked at the picture for help which is a good thing to do?
You can say, yes, it could be pie, but what letter would you have to see at the beginning of the word if it were pie? (Make the ‘p’ sound.) It would have to be a ‘p’ but there’s a ‘t’ instead. (Point to the first letter of the word and make the ‘t’ sound.) What could it be instead of pie? Could it be tart? Let’s check to see if the letters are there for the word tart. Say the sounds slowly, t-a-r-t, while checking by running your finger slowly under the word.
We do this all the time when reading. We check to see that all the sounds we’re saying are on the page. We’re checking if the word looks right. Your brain does this so quickly you don’t even know it’s happening. We have to show children how do this. Some children pick it up naturally, others don’t and we need to teach it.

Using “Super Hammy” to Teach Reading – Made Easy

 

I’ve developed lesson plans for all 15 of my Super Hammy books!  The plans are available free at DC Canada Education Publishing. 

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I’ve designed the lesson plans for teachers to use but parents can use them at home, too.
Super Hammy – My First Reading Series is a set of 15 books I’ve written that can be used by parents and teachers for children who are just beginning to read, or parents can read them to children who are not yet readers. The books can be purchased individually or as a set through DC Canada Education Publishing.

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super hammy - car

 

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Teach Reading With the “Does it Sound Right?” Prompt

Does it sound right?  

Your child is reading along and gets one of the words wrong. It doesn’t fit. It’s the wrong part of speech. Do you ask him to try again and sound it out?  No. You can teach him something more useful.  You can ask: Does that sound right?  Do we talk that way?

Super Hammy Makes a Snowman - cover

This is the reading strategy I discussed in a previous post.  Your child will be using her knowledge of her oral language, of how language “works” to figure out a word while reading a story.
The word she ultimately choses has to, not only make sense given what the story is about, but it also must sound right.  As adults, we do this without thinking when we’re reading, but when a child is learning to read, it must be taught.
How do you do that? Basically, you’ll be asking your child if her choice of word sounds right? Is that how we talk?  Can we say it like that?

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Super Hammy at Open Mic!

Hi, there. I’ve been busy doing illustrations for a new Super Hammy project,

but one dark and rainy night this past week I had the pleasure of participating in an Open Mic session at the beautiful Mill Street Library in Orangeville.

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I read three books to the enthralled audience – the sublime Here Comes Super Hammy, Super Hammy  and Little Mouse Go, and Super Hammy Goes for a Drive! It was my first Open Mic and the first time I have shared the books with an audience so there was some nail-biting on my part.  All went well!
I enjoyed listening to other local, talented authors, young and not so young,  including Diane Bator who is a USA Today best-selling author of at least 7 novels, poets, and a hilarious performance artist from Collingwood!  Thank you to Nancy Rorke of the Headwaters Writers’ Guild for inviting me.
“Super Hammy – My First Reading Series” is aimed children who are just beginning to read and can be purchased individually or as a set from DC Canada Education Publishing.  and beginning April 30th, 2017 through Chapters/Indigo.ca. The books feature a super hero hamster, his friend, Little Mouse, and bad guy, Bad Cat.

Super Hammy - boxes

What is the “Does it sound right?” Reading Prompt?

Does it sound right?  This is another very important reading strategy that piggy-backs on a child’s knowledge of oral language – of how language works.

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For example, when a child is reading a sentence and comes to a word he or she doesn’t know, the brain is searching for suitable possibilities.  We ask not only what word would make sense here, as discussed in my previous post, but also what word would fit here? What word would sound right?

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Let’s look at how this works.

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Teach Reading With the “Does it Make Sense?” Prompt

Does it make sense?

Reading has to make sense to your child. When choosing books to use as you begin to teach reading, make sure there are complete sentences – one simple sentence per page.  And that there is a very simple story line. This helps make the reading meaningful.
There isn’t much meaning in a bunch of letters and sounds so if you’re teaching your child to read only through phonics, that is, by sounding out the letters, the reading will not be meaningful. And you’ll be severely limiting your child’s reading tool box.

Mother and Daughter Reading Together --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Phonics is just one of the tools, but the “mega-power tool” is the meaning strategy. Reading for meaning is the most powerful reading strategy that we use. When your child is attempting to read a sentence and comes to a word she doesn’t know, the most powerful thing you can ask is: What word would make sense here?  You can also add: Look at the picture.
If your child says a word that doesn’t fit, you can say: You said________. That doesn’t make sense. You could add: What would make sense? Look at the picture.  Or, think about the story.
With all of these prompts, you’re appealing to meaning. You’re teaching your child to think for herself. You’re not asking your child to “sound it out”. When a child tries to only say the sounds, meaning is lost.
So, how do you teach your child to use this strategy while reading a book? It’s really quite simple and flows naturally.

The Pictures

One of the most obvious ways to teach the meaning strategy is through the use of pictures.
To demonstrate, I’ll be using one of the books from the Super Hammy – My First Reading Series which I just happen to have written.

Super Hammy's Hallowe'en cover -sshot

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