Mary Pecci, author of At Last: A Reading Method for Every Child, has created a set of three pre-readers for our beginning readers. If you are not familiar with Mary Pecci, you are missing a wonderful resource. This "method" provides children with the best of both worlds - being able to read "real English" as well as "decodable" text. In these readers, the child is drawn into stories about familiar activities, presented with humor, real drama and surprise endings.
The readers are correlated to the At Last reading book, but they can be used by any student. They provide a minimum repetition of each new word ten times to help the child develop fluency and confidence. They are also appropriate for ESL students.
Ms. Pecci sees three traps that children can fall into: (1) Difficulty memorizing endless words by sight; (2) Difficulty making the transition from decodable text to real English; and (3) Difficulty handling the influx of sight words, each of which requires the child to decide whether to read as a sight word or a sound-out word. These stories are crafted to avoid all of these traps by introducing the children to phonics clues, thereby introducing every word with phonics, not just decodable words.
These are also just plain fun stories - about pets and play, balloons and bubbles. Looking for some solid pre-primer readers? These are available at Ms. Pecci's website where you will find a wealth of information and other helps.