Encourage beginning readers
The right books build confidence
Learning to read is one of the most exciting accomplishments for a child. It's important to remember, however, that not all children master this skill at the same time as their peers. Some children will catch on to reading more quickly than others.
To help in reading success, provide children with reading materials that the emerging reader won't have to struggle through. This builds confidence, and confidence breeds a willingness to tackle more advanced books.
Such is the case with the books reviewed below. Many publishers have series of books written expressly for this purpose. Ask your bookseller and librarian to direct you to them. Anything we can do to make readers out of children is well worth the effort.
Books to Borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries.
"Dodsworth in London" written and illustrated by Tim Egan, Houghton Mifflin, 48 pages
Read aloud: age 4 — 5 and older
Read yourself: age 7 — 8
Dodsworth and his friend, the duck, have just arrived in London and are eager to see the sights. First the two decide to get something to eat before touring the city. Before they even order a morsel of food, the duck tries to play darts, creates a huge mess and the two are asked to leave.
Seeing a double-decker bus, Dodsworth decides this would be their best bet to see the city and keep the duck out of trouble. But the duck boards the bus without Dodsworth knowing it, leaving Dodsworth behind on the sidewalk.
At that very moment, Dodsworth mistakes another duck for his friend, even though this duck is wearing a different hat and has a British accent. When it becomes clear to Dodsworth that he has lost his friend, Dodsworth panics. How will he ever find the duck in all of London?
A clever and very amusing story, "Dodsworth in London" is certain to appeal to children as a read-aloud book and for the newly independent reader.
Library: Sutter Branch Library, 2147 California St., Sutter
Library Director: Karen Crocker
Choices this week: "Hank the Cowdog" series by John R. Erickson; "Nate the Great" series by Marjorie Wiseman Sharmat; "Cricket Wing" by Janell Cannon
Books to Buy
The following books are available at your favorite bookstores.
"Gus Makes a Gift" written and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz, Scholastic, 2011, 24 pages, $3.99 paperback
Read aloud: age 2 and older
Read yourself: age 5 — 6
With only 79 words, this Scholastic Level Pre 1 First Reader is perfect for the beginning reader in your life.
It's Mother's Day, and young Gus is off to school where he and his classmates will make special gifts for their mothers. Even though things don't go exactly as Gus plans, he is still certain his mom will love the gifts he has made, and as it turns out, he is right.
Short, simple sentences, clever repetition of words and an engaging story line perfectly supported by fun, colorful artwork, "Gus Makes a Gift" is a great book for the earliest readers.
"Iris and Walter and Cousin Howie" by Elissa Haden Guest, illustrated by Christine Davenier, sandpiper/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, 44 pages, $4.99 paperback
Read aloud: age 4 and older
Read yourself: age 7 — 8 and older
Another Green Light Readers book, "Iris and Walter and Cousin Howie" is a Level 3 for independent readers.
Walter and Iris are best friends. When Walter announces that his older cousin, Howie, is coming to visit, they are both excited. The two discuss all the things they will do with Howie when he arrives, and Walter is certain Howie will teach her magic tricks.
But when Howie finally comes for his visit, he isn't nice to Iris. Iris is crushed and worries she will lose her best friend. With some help from her parents and grandfather, Iris comes to realize nothing could be further from the truth.
An awesome story with equally terrific illustrations, this independent reader is first rate.
Kendal A. Rautzhan writes and lectures about children’s literature. She can be reached at her website: greatestbooksforkids.com.