Super Hammy – My First Reading Series has now been translated into French and is a terrific addition to a French language classroom or home library.
The books are about an adorable and somewhat goofy super hero hamster and his friend, Little Mouse. All good stories need a villain, of course – Bad Cat makes an appearance in several of the books.
The featured books below are: Super Hami lave ses vetements, Super Hami et Petite Souris sortent, and L’Halloween de Super Hami.
The books are for beginning readers and come in 3 levels all suitable for preschool or kindergarten, and, for struggling readers in grade one. They can be purchased as a boxed set of 15 or individually from DC Canada Education Publishing.
Free Christmas gift-wrapping is now available from the publisher.
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
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.
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?
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?
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.
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?
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.