Soundprints is the publisher and distributer of quality children's books, audio
books, and toys. The company has designed a line of books that are called Soundprints
Early Readers. I received four books from this series, which was written with
the help of the Smithsonian Institution.
Soundprints Early Readers were created for children from preschool through 4th grade, and the books are grouped into three different reading levels (Hoppers: preschool-1st grade; Jumpers: 1st-3rd grade; Leapers: 2nd-4th grade). There are several books in each level from which to choose. These books can be used in a homeschool setting as a supplement to a reading curriculum. Each book contains a glossary of terms used in the story and a section that includes facts about the subject of the book. For example, the glossary for Panda Bear Cub defines the words "bamboo," "crackling," "den," and "explore." In the "About Panda Bears" section, children find out that panda bears live in western China and they spend 12 to 16 hours a day eating bamboo! These are fun facts for children to learn and can be explored more in depth across many subject areas.
I enjoyed looking through and reading these short books. They are colorful, illustrated beautifully, and interesting. The books are written well for the intended elementary-aged audience. I liked the glossary and the portion of the book that tells more about the subject. Not only can the books be used as readers, but they also relate to topics in social studies and science. The Level 3 readers are wonderful for older elementary students. I received the books Emma's
Escape: A Story of America's Underground Railroad and Moon Walk. Both are written about a group of friends who visit one of the Smithsonian museums. One of the kids in the group gets lost inside one of the exhibits and is transported back to that time in history to experience it firsthand. This is a clever way to engage children in the story, while teaching them a little bit of history along the way.
My 6-year-old daughter was able to read a bit of Panda Bear
Cub on her own, but she struggled and needed me to help her with several words. This is a Level 1 book, so according to the suggested grade level, my daughter (who reads on a Kindergarten level) should be able to read it on her own. I do not think the Level 1 readers fit the age group; they should probably be geared toward 1st grade and possibly 2nd grade. I felt the same way about the other Level 1 book I received. Of course, every child is different, and a younger child may have no problems reading at this level. As a parent, you would need to take a look at the book before purchasing, especially if you intend for your child to read it independently. The other issue I had was with the book Lead
the Way, Velociraptor. Obviously, it is a book about dinosaurs, so parents need to be aware that the fact section in this book tells children that velociraptors lived about 75 million years ago. I would assume that the other dinosaur books in this series contain similar language.
Overall, I like the Soundprints Early Reader series. Despite a few issues, I would recommend these books to any homeschool family looking to add some easy readers to their library. It is nice to have books on the shelf that your child can just pick up and read without getting frustrated. That these books are illustrated so nicely and written well is icing on the cake!