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February 16, 2015 Turn Beginning Readers Into Serial Readers By Brian Smith
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    Do your students finish the books that they start? I did a reading survey of all the kindergarten to fifth grade students in my district, and the majority of kids reported that they do not. Very recently I had the privilege of hearing "The Principal," Salome Thomas-El give a keynote speech. One of the many quotes that I quickly scribbled down was, “Children don’t have to eat a whole pie to know it doesn’t taste good.” Immediately I thought about those students who told us that they don’t finish most books that they start. In that same survey I also asked kids, “If you could read any book you wanted to right now, what book would you pick?” and the large majority of students picked a character from a book series. They finish books that feel familiar. This occasionally showed up as finishing books from a favorite author, but was more frequently linked to a favorite recurring character or book series.

    Kids love what's familiar, from what they eat for breakfast to what they watch on T.V. So the question becomes, how do you make new characters or series familiar? How can we turn cereal eaters into serial readers? The simple answer is exposure. Here are some fabulous series that will catch students' attention and send them straight to the library to find more of the same. I’m also including the best way to expose your class to each series.

     

    Fly Guy Banner

     

     

     

     

     

    Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold
    Fly Guy is the pet of Buzz. He is such a smart pet that he can say his owner’s name, BUZZZZZ! This series has really expanded, no doubt because of Fly Guy's universal appeal. These books are fantastic because they have simple text and they are broken into smaller chapters. This helps to build suspense if you stop at each chapter. It also helps you be explicit when you teach beginning, middle, and end to your students.

    This series now includes fiction and nonfiction books. It is best to introduce this character through the fiction books. There is no special sequence to these books but I recommend reading many of them close together. This immerses your student into the character’s world. Then use the nonfiction books and watch your students light up when you pull out a new Fly Guy book. Another great thing about these books is that they are great beginning readers for your students.

    Fly Guy recently expanded to picture books with A Pet for Fly Guy, which is a great addition to any pet unit. Here some great activities to use the Fly Guy books from Scholastic's Parents website. Books in the series include:

     

    Biscuit Banner

    Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illustrated by Pat Schories
    These longtime favorite books are usually one of the first series that students enjoy checking out and reading at home. They love the familiarity of a comforting character, and reading these simple texts by themselves inspires them to read more. Biscuit is an adorable little brown dog who has very cute and funny adventures in everyday situations. Another great thing about the Biscuit series is that there are now phonics readers. I use these as Baggy Books after a student discovers the Biscuit character. Biscuit is a perennial favorite of children and adults around the world. Books in the series include:

     

    Clifford Banner

     

     

     

     

     

    Clifford by Norman Bridwell
    On December 12, 2014, the world lost a little color. The man who brought us Clifford, the lovable, cheerful, and best friend that Emily Elizabeth could ever have, passed away. There is a Clifford book for almost every occasion, which makes visiting the "big red dog" throughout the year very easy to do. My favorite way to use Clifford books is during holidays. I read several at the beginning on the year, and we revisit our big red friend throughout the year. This is not a character that I typically need to “introduce” students to because of the great PBS show. Pull in this favorite character with these Clifford birthday stickers. Books in this series include:

     

    Froggy Banner

     

     

     

     

    Froggy by Jonathan London, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
    Zip, Zap, Zoom and Zippity, Zip, Zap…Froggy is here. Do not schedule to read one of these books when you have a weak voice because reading these books softly does them a huge disservice. My favorite character in these books is the mom because I get to be very animated and use a big read-aloud voice when I holler, “FRRRRROOOOOGGGGGGGY!” These books are meant to be loud and fun! They get kids laughing and thinking at the same time.

    I love to read Froggy books during the winter because there are so many of them about fun outside activities that you can have the kids act out. They are a great introduction to indoor recess games because you can easily incorporate movement from the books into your classroom to get students up and moving while still intently listening to see what will Froggy do next.

    One of the things that I love about the Froggy series is that so many of them come with read-aloud CDs which make for great listening center books. After introducing Froggy to your class, print the free Froggy bookmarks and watch your students' eyes light up! These bookmarks make great Baggy Book surprises. Books in this series include:

    There are way too many amazing series out there to mention here and I even skipped over some of my favorites because I’ve blogged about them before such as Clark the Shark, Pete the Cat, the Bear books by Karma Wilson, There Was an Old Lady Who…, and Elephant and Piggie. I would love for you to leave me a comment about your favorite series to use with your kids.

    Don’t forget to use Book Wizard to help you level all your new series books.

    Find me on Twitter, @dad2ella, and Pinterest.

    I can’t wait to see you next week.

    Do your students finish the books that they start? I did a reading survey of all the kindergarten to fifth grade students in my district, and the majority of kids reported that they do not. Very recently I had the privilege of hearing "The Principal," Salome Thomas-El give a keynote speech. One of the many quotes that I quickly scribbled down was, “Children don’t have to eat a whole pie to know it doesn’t taste good.” Immediately I thought about those students who told us that they don’t finish most books that they start. In that same survey I also asked kids, “If you could read any book you wanted to right now, what book would you pick?” and the large majority of students picked a character from a book series. They finish books that feel familiar. This occasionally showed up as finishing books from a favorite author, but was more frequently linked to a favorite recurring character or book series.

    Kids love what's familiar, from what they eat for breakfast to what they watch on T.V. So the question becomes, how do you make new characters or series familiar? How can we turn cereal eaters into serial readers? The simple answer is exposure. Here are some fabulous series that will catch students' attention and send them straight to the library to find more of the same. I’m also including the best way to expose your class to each series.

     

    Fly Guy Banner

     

     

     

     

     

    Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold
    Fly Guy is the pet of Buzz. He is such a smart pet that he can say his owner’s name, BUZZZZZ! This series has really expanded, no doubt because of Fly Guy's universal appeal. These books are fantastic because they have simple text and they are broken into smaller chapters. This helps to build suspense if you stop at each chapter. It also helps you be explicit when you teach beginning, middle, and end to your students.

    This series now includes fiction and nonfiction books. It is best to introduce this character through the fiction books. There is no special sequence to these books but I recommend reading many of them close together. This immerses your student into the character’s world. Then use the nonfiction books and watch your students light up when you pull out a new Fly Guy book. Another great thing about these books is that they are great beginning readers for your students.

    Fly Guy recently expanded to picture books with A Pet for Fly Guy, which is a great addition to any pet unit. Here some great activities to use the Fly Guy books from Scholastic's Parents website. Books in the series include:

     

    Biscuit Banner

    Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illustrated by Pat Schories
    These longtime favorite books are usually one of the first series that students enjoy checking out and reading at home. They love the familiarity of a comforting character, and reading these simple texts by themselves inspires them to read more. Biscuit is an adorable little brown dog who has very cute and funny adventures in everyday situations. Another great thing about the Biscuit series is that there are now phonics readers. I use these as Baggy Books after a student discovers the Biscuit character. Biscuit is a perennial favorite of children and adults around the world. Books in the series include:

     

    Clifford Banner

     

     

     

     

     

    Clifford by Norman Bridwell
    On December 12, 2014, the world lost a little color. The man who brought us Clifford, the lovable, cheerful, and best friend that Emily Elizabeth could ever have, passed away. There is a Clifford book for almost every occasion, which makes visiting the "big red dog" throughout the year very easy to do. My favorite way to use Clifford books is during holidays. I read several at the beginning on the year, and we revisit our big red friend throughout the year. This is not a character that I typically need to “introduce” students to because of the great PBS show. Pull in this favorite character with these Clifford birthday stickers. Books in this series include:

     

    Froggy Banner

     

     

     

     

    Froggy by Jonathan London, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
    Zip, Zap, Zoom and Zippity, Zip, Zap…Froggy is here. Do not schedule to read one of these books when you have a weak voice because reading these books softly does them a huge disservice. My favorite character in these books is the mom because I get to be very animated and use a big read-aloud voice when I holler, “FRRRRROOOOOGGGGGGGY!” These books are meant to be loud and fun! They get kids laughing and thinking at the same time.

    I love to read Froggy books during the winter because there are so many of them about fun outside activities that you can have the kids act out. They are a great introduction to indoor recess games because you can easily incorporate movement from the books into your classroom to get students up and moving while still intently listening to see what will Froggy do next.

    One of the things that I love about the Froggy series is that so many of them come with read-aloud CDs which make for great listening center books. After introducing Froggy to your class, print the free Froggy bookmarks and watch your students' eyes light up! These bookmarks make great Baggy Book surprises. Books in this series include:

    There are way too many amazing series out there to mention here and I even skipped over some of my favorites because I’ve blogged about them before such as Clark the Shark, Pete the Cat, the Bear books by Karma Wilson, There Was an Old Lady Who…, and Elephant and Piggie. I would love for you to leave me a comment about your favorite series to use with your kids.

    Don’t forget to use Book Wizard to help you level all your new series books.

    Find me on Twitter, @dad2ella, and Pinterest.

    I can’t wait to see you next week.

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