* a story that engages them,
* words that are not too difficult to read, and
* pictures that help kids put the meaning together.
Easy Readers are a type of book addressed specifically to children learning to read - typically in late kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade. One of my concerns is that so many Easy Readers use animals as the main characters or stereotypical white children, so they do not reflect our student body today. So, I am continuing my search for great Easy Readers with children of color as the main characters.
Luke On The LooseLuke is a little boy that reminds me of so many kids I know. He's standing by his dad on a walk, looking on at the pigeons, while his dad is lost in “boring Daddy talk.” Before you know it - Luke takes off chasing the pigeons! He's running wild through New York City, and his dad has no idea what's happened to him. Every parent's nightmare, right? But all Luke cares about are those pigeons! Yaaah! As you can see from this sample, Luke on the Loose is written in the style of a graphic novel or comic book. But it works so well as an Easy Reader because the words are never complex and the pictures support the meaning of the words.
by Harry Bliss
NY: Toon Books, 2009
ages 4 - 8
The Pet Vet, by Marica Leonard, is another great Easy Reader. It uses pictures of real kids, and these photographs really engage young children. This Easy Reader is a phonics-based reader, which means that most of the words use the same word pattern, in this case "-et" like pet, vet, Bret. This makes it easier for children who are just sounding out words. But many phonics readers do not have engaging stories. This one does! Bret is a young boy who asks his friends if their pets are sick, and they bring him their stuffed animals to heal.
The Pet VetMy daughter enjoyed The Pet Vet because she's played doctor with her stuffed animals many times. She could imagine herself taking part in this story. She is a very new reader (kindergarten), and so she liked the simple sentences surrounded by lots of white space. I loved the ending when we meet Brett's dad, a real vet. This is a very early Easy Reader, so is right for ages 4 - 6.
(Real Kids Readers)
CT: Millbrook Press, 1999.
ages 4 - 6
My next quest: Easy Readers with children from Hispanic or Asian backgrounds. If you have any to suggest, please let me know!
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