Friday, May 6, 2011

Circle C Beginnings from kregel and author Susan Marlow; A TOS Crew Review

kregel PUBLISHING, author Susan K. Marlow, and illustrator Leslie Gammelgaard bring us a new series of fiction for beginning readers.

I reviewed an older reader from Susan Marlow a year ago. I enjoyed the story, but the book level was too challenging for Li'l Bit, too wordy for even a read-aloud.I was tickled to see a new series from Susan Marlow for children who are reading at younger levels, and was pleased to be chosen to receive one. Our family received, "Andi's Scary School Days", an 80-page paperback priced at $4.99, that is the story of young Andi's experience conquering the uncertainty of something brand new, in this case, going to school. (I did think that reading about a school-building school, even a one-room schoolhouse from the 'olden days' was a bit odd for my homeschooler.) Every reader or listener can make a text-to-self comparison to Andi's fear of the uncertainty of something she's never experienced before.

Li'l Bit is not reading chapter books like this one yet. Reading is still too much work for her in many ways.

We used it as a read aloud. She followed along the text as I read aloud, and I occasionally paused to give her an opportunity to read a line if she chose to. We worked on tiny narrations (I have to be careful not to turn the narration moment into a Q&A session.)

I especially like the free 20-page activity packet of extras that are available for download online. (The packet for the book we reviewed is here.) I printed some of them from the hotel business center when we were in transition during our move, and Li'l Bit dove into them. I never know what information she absorbs. Her auditory processing gives her some challenges. She tackled the word match and knew more of the vocabulary than I anticipated. I'm sold.

The Andi & Taffy web site is here.

Special needs perspective:

The story is engaging, and is from a time long before electricity and the things that come with it. (Hard to imagine, isn't it?) Expectations of childrern were very different. We have had a few conversations about the differences between then and now. There are opportunities for the imagination to dream about that time and to try to perspective take.

The words on the page are large, not too many words on a page for children who see a crowded page and automatically think "too hard". The free activity packet download offers added value to aid comprehension in addition to providing background information.

I very much enjoyed the two books I reviewed and will probably order more of the younger readers to use as we begin school again in the fall.

To read what my crewmates' think about this and other Circle C Beginnings titles, please go here.

Thank you, Susan Marlow, for creating this series for younger readers!

kregel PUBLICATIONS sent me "Andi's Scary School Days" to review at no charge to me. I am not paid for this review and am not obligated to provide a positive review.

1 comment:

Andi Carter said...

Thank you, Penny, for reviewing Scary School Days on your blog.
Yes, I sort of wondered what folks getting just this one book (without reading the others) would think, since it's for homeschooling families. However, hey, it's the same as Little House on the Prairie, so I figured an 1870s schoolhouse is always fun to learn about. And honestly, after reading about the rules of school in the historical note at the end, most kids would say, "Boy, I'm glad I"m homeschooled!" LOL
(I homeschooled as well).
Thanks again and have a great day!

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