Sunday, March 28, 2010

Early Reading that is Fun and Engaging!

Kids love to solve mysteries, even if they come within a short spurt of a sentence. What Am I ? by Marie Rippel and Renee LaTulippe gives early readers just such page turning fun in their level 2, volume 1 book. These are the same folks that put out the "All About Spelling" program that some of you may be familiar with. They recently sent me a copy of two of their Readers, from their "All About Reading" program, for review. Even though my students are well past the “early reader” stage, I enjoyed perusing the pages of What Am I ? (which I will review first) and soaked in the beautiful, rich sketches that graced the pages. 
As with most early readers, the words are short and mostly one syllable to begin. Weaving various stories that, in one way or another, ask the reader to deduce who is talking or what is being described, this particular book slowly progresses in its complexity. There is a delightful variety of stories and poems to hold a child’s interest with a gradual increase in difficulty, easing the reader from one syllable words written with only a few sentences per page, to small paragraphs sprinkled with greater word challenges. 
I can see young readers really digging in and exploring these stories, delighting in playing detective, absorbing the lovely illustrations as they go. From cover to cover, this little gem imparts innocent fun that kids shall want to return to again and again. For those that are too young to read, the stories and poems will provide sweet little moments for mother and child to investigate together.
Here’s a short poem that I found particularly playful:
In My Backpack
“A frog.
A flag.
A hotdog.
A bag.
A rock from the creek.
A sandwich from last week.
A secret map to find gold.
A cute pumpkin you can hold.
The wing of a bee.
Seeds I got for free.
A bike spoke that is bent.
But no...not even a cent.”

Some selections are longer, written in story form; others are brief like the poem above, ensuring that your child will probably ask to read more! This particular book is part of a new series of Readers to be released as a set in fall of 2010. However,  What Am I? will be available to grace your collection on April 12th for $19.95. This hardcover, winsome book is one of those that will likely be saved to be explored, once again, with the grandkids. If that makes you feel rather old, then think of it as a worthwhile deposit for your child's hope-chest! Click here to obtain your copy anytime after April the 12th.

No comments:

At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.