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.
“Does it look right?” is another important prompt or reading strategy that you can use to teach your child how to read.
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.”
What if your child sayspie instead of tart because she looked at the picture for help which is a good thing to do?
You can say, yes, it could bepie, 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 ofpie? 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.
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?
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.
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?