Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Peter and Jane books

Otherwise known as the "Keywords Reading Scheme with Ladybird", this set of 36 books is famously known all over the United Kingdom and possibly within the Commonwealth countries.

Did you know that this reading scheme is 44 years old? Now, I'm a strong believer of "old is gold" especially as these books are developed based on research on literacy.

The author, William Murray, an education adviser and together with an educational psychologist, Prof. McNally studied writing materials and spoken samples of English (using a tape recorder). From their study, they found that:
    12 words make up 25% of spoken, printed and written English, 100 words make up 50% of spoken English and 300 words make up 75% of spoken English.
Using the above 'keywords', he came up with the Ladybird Keyword Reading Scheme. If you read the books with your child, they will be able to recognize these words on sight (by memory) and have the basic and essential vocabulary to read, speak and write in English. Basically, you're building a strong foundation in English with this set of books!

Accompanied by brightly coloured and detailed illustrations of "Peter", "Jane", "Pat the dog", "Mummy" and "Daddy", the scheme uses the keywords to form simple stories about this British family's daily life and adventures. The scheme has 3 series, broken down to levels 1-12:

A - Introduces the keywords
B - Reinforces the keywords with different sentence structures, settings and illustrations
C - Writing and other activities are included LadyBird also provides FREE worksheets for spelling, fill in the gaps and handwriting practice (one worksheet for one level). Parents or teachers of preschoolers can get these resources here.(*Update - sadly, the free worksheets are no longer available)

Resources are also available for Ladybird's other reading schemes: phonics, read-it-yourself, read-it-with-me and start reading.

I never read these books as a child because the whole set would cost about RM300, which is a small fortune in the 80s!

Now that I've bought a few of them for my toddler/preschooler, I'll use the pictures to ask simple questions like:
What's Peter holding? Where is Jane? What is this? Is Pat the dog here? Do you want to go to the beach?
This encourages his participation and also lets him show off what he knows.

Anyway, it's quite boring to read as bedtime stories because you'll be reading:

This is Peter. This is Jane. This is Pat. AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN! :P

We've been reading these books for over a year now and he has his Ladybird favourites.

For bedtime stories, you can try the Ladybird Classics, which your child will be able to read on his own later :)

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