What are levelled readers and why are they important?
Levelled books are specially designed to increase very gradually in difficulty. They are used by teachers everywhere to teach reading in a highly controlled and standardized way. You don’t have to be a teacher, parents can use them, too.
Picture books are terrific books to read to your child but levelled books are best when it comes to teaching your child how to read.
Teachers also use levelled readers to test your child and determine your child’s reading level. The right level will be “just right” – not too hard and not too easy for your child. Your child will think and learn.
I wrote these Super Hammy books to be levelled books. That means I carefully controlled the vocabulary, the sight words – words such as “the”, “it”, “me”, the sentence structures, the way the letters are formed, the punctuation, and even the lay-out of the words on the page. All this is done to optimize the teaching and learning of reading which means more success for your child.
It’s very simple: you start with Level 1 or Level A and move up slowly. Once one level is mastered, you move up to the next level.
The Super Hammy books have now been levelled by Fountas and Pinnell which is the gold standard for levelling in the education market. A Fountas and Pinnell chart which shows reading levels and the corresponding grade level can be downloaded from Heinemann publishers.
Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell are professors of early literacy at Ohio State University. They are the gurus of early literacy! Their work is based on the teachings of Marie Clay who developed the Reading Recovery program. Reading Recovery is a powerful program that turns struggling readers into successful ones.
I had the privilege of being a Reading Recovery teacher and worked with grade one students who were having the most reading difficulties. There was nothing more gratifying than to see the change in a child’s self-esteem when they learned to read as well as their classmates, or sometimes, even better!
Fountas and Pinnell levelled books will have the official Fountas and Pinnell level usually on the back of the book.
“Matching books to readers provides opportunities to process texts that are not too difficult or too easy, allowing the reader to learn from the text.” – Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell
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.
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.
Sight words are the building blocks of beginning reading. They are words such as it, is, am, and, the, you, I, he, she and here. It’s important to build up a word bank. These are words that your child will be able to recognize on sight, quickly, without actually having to read them. This will speed up the reading process and make things easier for your child. Sight words will be important for beginning writing, too. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand.
Use the books you’re reading to your child to teach sight words…
Here are more features about print on a page to show your child.
Once you’ve introduced the features we talked about in my previous blog – Show Your Child How Books Work, you can point out some more “advanced” items. These would be for a child about 3 and a half to 4 years of age or older.
This is about showing your child how books work. This knowledge will come in really handy once your child begins to read! Teachers call this concepts about print.
Do this while reading with your child. Look for the different features in the book you’re reading. Introduce one item at a time. One day you might talk about a period, the next day point out a question mark.
Point to a period. Say: “This dot means stop. We stop reading when we come to a period.” And then, demonstrate by reading the sentence and coming to a stop.