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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the most obvious ways to teach the meaning strategy is through the use of pictures.
The official book launch for Super Hammy – My First Reading Series…is Thursday, February 23rd, 2017.
I’ll be attending the Reading for the Love of It Conference which runs February 23 and 24 at the Sheraton in Toronto. If you’ll be attending the conference, stop by booth 702 and I’ll sign some books for you! The official launch is Thursday, Feb. 23rd from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The books can be purchased individually or as a set.
“The Super Hammy reading series is a collection of 15 books about a mighty little hero Super Hammy who goes on big adventures with his friend Little Mouse. His simple and funny stories are told in small sentences – just right for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and grade one.
The stories are carefully written with controlled vocabulary and simple sentence structures. The characters and humorous story lines and illustrations will appeal to children and make learning to read fun. The books are designed to facilitate the teaching of reading for classroom teachers, Reading Recovery teachers, teachers of English Language Learners and students with special needs, and for parents. An audio CD is included in the box set.” DC Canada Education Publishing