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Oxford Reading Tree: Stage 1+: My Dad - Monica Hughes My youngster has recently started reading and so we have hunted around for various early reading books for her to practise at home. A number of books which we have bought recently are from the Oxford Reading Tree set which is a set commonly used in primary schools. These books have various levels and stages so your child can move up at a reasonable pace. Stage 1+ books are aimed at 4-5 year olds, though this is obviously dependant upon your childs reading ability. 'My Dad' is a 12 page book with reading aids at the front and back. It gives the parents ideas of how to interact with the book with your child to make the experience more fun as well as enable the child to think more about what they are reading. What is the book about? The book is about Dad as the title suggests. Through the book, Dad puts on one item of clothing after another with someone down a hole shouting 'Hurry Up!'. At the end, Dad is ready and jumps into a fire engine. A simple story though enough to entertain a young child who is learning to read. You are also unsure exactly what he is dressing up for until the end so this brings excitement for the child. This, I feel, is more a book in which a parent reads WITH the child in a lot of words unless the child is either advanced or older as there are some quite hard words such as 'trousers' and 'jacket'. A typical page reads; "Dad put on a big jacket" "Hurry up!" The book is part of the stage 1+ snapdragons set alongside titles such as 'Where is baby?' and 'Breakfast'. My youngster likes this book though does get fraustrated with the harder words as she is at the point where she wants to read everything herself and some of these words are just too difficult for her young age which falls into the age recommendation of the book. A fun and short reading book with a simple story and great, colourful images throughout. Recommended for young children who are confident with their reading - perhaps more so 5-6.
The Snapdragons series supports the Oxford Reading Tree so you know it's going to be decent quality before you even buy it. The RRP of these books is £2.99 each, and Amazon are selling the set of six Level 1 books for £13.99. I got a much better deal by purchasing them from the Book People online though. I paid £12.99 and got all six books from level 1 series along with levels 2 and 3, so 18 books in total. The titles in this series are simple but varied, with something slightly different in each book. All the books are written in simple sentences using words and illustrations that young children should find easy to get to grips with. These books are recommended for children aged four to six years and the idea is that a child should be able to progress through to levels 2 then 3 quite quickly after finishing this level. All the books include a little bit in the front that helps parents to get the most out of reading these books with their kids. There's a step-by-step guide for those who want it, on how best to use these books to get the most out of them. If you've never taught a child to read before, I could see this being really useful. The books are: Breakfast, is a story that practices the words "I, went, to, see, the, said" and follows a young lad feeding animals their breakfast on a farm. Hello Grandma, is a story that features an Asian family meeting their Grandma at the airport. The story practices the words "we, a, went, on, the" and includes the foreign word "nanni-jii" in one of the speech bubbles to introduce the idea of some people having more than one language. My Dad, is a book about a fireman Dad getting dressed. It practices the words "Dad, on, a, big, up" and is a really simple book to start learning to read with. My Dog Needs a Bone, practices the words "I, my, dog, a" and is extremely simple for a total beginner to have a go at. There are lots of phonetically spelled words in this, and lots of easy repetitions too. Going Up and Down, is another really simple book that's our grandson's firm favourite. I think he just likes the fact that he can identify with how much fun the little boy at the play park is having! This book practices the words "I, am, going, look, at, me, and". Where is Baby? is a story that practices "I, can, see, on, the, is" and is another extremely simple book to follow for early readers. We go through the book finding simple clues that baby has left behind, such as jam on the bears and jam on the stairs, and eventually we find baby asleep on the rug at the end of the book. It's a simple book that leads to a sense of accomplishment and reward at the end, and even a total beginner can share in this. This is the perfect place to start if your child is around four to six years old and looking to start learning to read. These books are suitable for absolute beginners, and will have young children reading by themselves in no time at all. I particular recommend that they're bought as part of the set including the next levels so that children have something to progress onto as soon as they're ready. Although the Step Into Reading books have been more popular with the grandson due to their using popular characters, I would have to say that Snapdragons are the slightly superior series for a beginner.