Who writes this stuff anyway?

Evie recently won a book in a drawing at the library. The pickings were pretty unappealing (mostly character books, or I should say advertisements for television shows disguised as books), but I didn’t want to sway her opinion, so I let her pick whatever she wanted. It was her prize after all. She ended up picking a “ready to read level 1” book, and I was relatively happy with that. Very appropriate, and better than most of the choices.

She was pretty excited about it, and started looking at it as soon as we got back to the car. “Daddy, what does c-h-r-y-s-a-l-i-s spell?”

Seriously? You call that “ready to read level 1”?

The first name you encounter is in the book is Eigen. Eigen?? There’s also a Nia. In fact, there are so many kids introduced in the book, Evie couldn’t even keep all the characters straight. Isn’t repetition a better way to teach a kid to read? I understand wanting to display diversity in a kids’ book, but lets focus on teaching them about one thing at a time. I’ll pick a “ready to learn about diversity level 1” book if that’s what i want.

One of the kids is named Michael, which is at least a common name, but that isn’t good for a beginning to read book either; Michael is not a name you can sound out. I don’t think it’s a good time to explain that Michael is a special case where ch doesn’t make it’s usual “ch” sound. They could have at least gone with “Mike”.

Say, here’s an idea, how about limiting it to two characters with simple names? Lets say Dick and Jane. You can sound those out easy enough, and then the two of them could do all kinds of easy-to-read things, like “run”.

You’d think that writing a “ready to read level 1” book would be about the easiest thing in the world. Maybe it’s harder than it looks?

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