Over the past 10 years, as we worked with beginning readers in our kindergarten classrooms using big books and little leveled readers, we found an abundance of wonderful stories at the early levels. However, as we moved from story to story, we found that although each story included an emphasis on high frequency words, each story contained different high frequency words. For that reason, the needs of beginning readers and struggling readers were not being met because they were being introduced to too many words too quickly. This important finding was confirmed in a report from the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement: Selecting Text for Beginning Reading Instruction (Hiebert, 1997).
Additionally, as we incorporated research findings into our teaching that show that beginning readers benefit from an emphasis on exploration of onset and rime spelling patterns rather than on emphasis on vowel sounds in isolation (Adams, 1990), we found that books at the early levels do not support children's development of an understanding of onset and rime patterns. Although many books are available that contain rhyming words, very few of those books are at the beginning levels. In addition, books that do contain rhyming patterns usually contain multiple rhyming patterns in the same text, or rhyming words that have different spelling patterns (ie: hair, bear). When these occur, beginning readers are faced with too many challenges and not enough support. This, too, has been confirmed in a CIERA report: Text Matters in Learning to Read (Hiebert, 1998)
Putting these two needs together - the need for sets of books that use a limited number of the same high frequency words over and over and the need for books that introduce beginning readers to onset and rime spelling patterns - led us to the creation of Kid Rhymes. We incorporated our knowledge - based on our combined 50 plus years of classroom experience - that children learn most easily through song and body movement and are more likely to reread (and develop fluency) when singing and clapping/tapping are involved in a joyful, musical literary experience!
Rollicking Good Fun
By Eileen G. Feldgus, Ed.D. and Isabell Cardonick, M.Ed.
Note: We are thrilled to be working with our good friends at Reading Matters, Inc. and a wonderful illustrator, Matt Sweitzer, in the launching of our Kid Rhyme Readers. Matt has helped us to capture the element of humor we had hoped for to ensure a high degree of engagement of our young readers. We are happy to announce that Series A is now available!