The last of the Grass Roots Press book order arrived, bringing the three new titles from PRACE Page Turner Series. Yay! (Back story here.)
I haven't read The Dentist yet: it got borrowed, and then taken home, the same day I opened the parcel. I did get to read Shut Up Steve and Peanuts with one of my learners.*
One of the things I like about these books is their willingness to use natural language - contractions or words like "Hmm" - in their stories. That night, a question around contractions led to a useful 15 minute discussion about spelling and how contractions work, as well as a fierce debate between facilitators of the relative merits of "we're not" vs. "we aren't."
The new books also retained that wonderful Page Turner humor.**
I noticed the humor because I saw that my learner could see what was coming: she started to laugh aloud even as the comedic situation unfolded. This was a nice example of using prediction in reading comprehension, and made me wonder about the value of a humorous plot. Or maybe of a strong plot in general. Does it pull the reader forward? Does their interest in what's happening add to their fluency of comprehension, their ability to predict the next word or phrase?
(I'm someone who always reads ahead silently when reading aloud. Is that common? I also read "too fast" when things get exciting, missing details in my eagerness to see what happens next, and then next.)
Her laughing also told me something about her independent reading level. Readers who are dealing with a too-hard text, word by word, don't seem to have the "extra" mental reserves for thinking about what's funny or scary or exciting. (This is the difference between reading vocabulary and reading comprehension.) She did, and so that means these level 2 books were well within her independent reading range. And that means it's time to use level 3 books in our shared instructional reading.
* There's a difference between the titles available through Canada's Grass Roots Press, and those listed for sale on the PRACE (Australia) webpage. The Frontier College New Readers Bookstore (Canada) does not yet carry these titles - I don't know about the Proliteracy New Readers Press in the U.S.
** About the authors, from the Page Turner website:
The authors of this collection one day realised they'd had enough of the lack of fun, interesting, easy-to-read stories for "completely beginning" adult readers.
So these teachers produced this collection mainly to meet the needs of their students.
Anne Dunn, Chris Malakar and Moira Hanrahan have worked in many settings, and are very experienced in High Schools, Community Schools, Language Centres, TAFE & Community Education Centres.
Currently all three are working at Preston Reservoir Adult Community Education.
Anne and Chris are largely responsible for "English at the Beach" which is now online! A range of stories and information texts written for learners of English as a second language at intermediate levels.
Anne is also a successful and popular writer outside of Material Galz - take a look at www.annegracie.com
PageTurners [http://pageturners.prace.vic.edu.au] [by (c) Material Galz] [in association with Preston Reservoir Adult Community Education - PRACE] [PO Box 510 Reservoir, Vic., 3073]