Beginning readers are books that help children read on their own

  • Posted: Sunday, March 3, 2013 12:01 a.m.

SALISBURY — Each year thousands of children’s books are published due to the various stages of development and reading abilities of children, such as chapter books, picture books and informational books, but there are also books that help children learn their reading independence, called beginning readers.

Beginning readers are those books that help children transition from having picture books read to them to reading books on their own. They are great for building basic vocabularies and providing context for new words to help encourage children as they learn to read. Beginning readers may take the form of early chapter books, known to libraries as the “easy readers,” or they may fall into the picture book category, using distinct vocabulary and large format pictures as in “Move Over, Rover!” by Karen Beaumont and “Not a Box,” by Antoinette Portis.


Since 2006, the Assocation for Library Services to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has given an annual award to the “author and illustrator of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers, recognizing the winner’s literary and artistic achievements in demonstrating creativity and imagination to engage children in reading.”

This award has been appropriately named the (Theodor Seuss) Geisel Award. Past winners and honor books have included picture books and easy readers, but they all have a story told in words and pictures that an emergent reader can use to learn to read on their own.

Why would Theodor Geisel, best known as Dr. Seuss, have this award named after him? Not only are his books funny and popular, but “The Cat in the Hat” was created to provide first-graders with a new reading primer that they would not want to put down using only 225 words (it ended up with 236) from a list of 348. “The Cat in the Hat” was so successful that Geisel and his wife decided to launch “Beginner books” a division of Random House publishers that would focus on fun reading primers for children. With this imprint, the first Berenstain Bears book and P.D. Eastman’s “Go Dog Go” were published, along with another challenge for Dr. Seuss, a book with only 50 words, “Green Eggs and Ham.” This endeavor has led to the standard in children’s beginning reader books, a fun story with a limited number of words that encourages children to learn to read.

Some favorite characters for beginning readers that can be found at the Rowan Public Library, by those other than Dr. Seuss, include:

“Elephant and Piggie” series by Mo Willems — Elephant and Piggie are best friends, even though they are very different. Look for special guest Pigeon on the back cover of each book.

“Frog and Toad” by Arnold Lobel — Each book includes five short adventures of Frog and his friend Toad. From flying a kite to cleaning house, each adventure will keep kids entertained. While published too early to win an award, a definite favorite among children.

“Fly Guy” series by Tedd Arnold — Follows the adventures of Fly Guy, an actual fly, and his human friend Buzz.

“Pearl and Wagner” by Kate McMullan — Tells about the adventures of two unlikely friends — Pearl, a hardworking rabbit, and Wagner, a daydreaming mouse, as they spend time in and out of the classroom.

“Henry and Mudge” by Cynthia Rylant — Henry learns about life, loyalty and love with the help of his bullmastiff Mudge.

Computer classes: Find it online at RPL — March 18, 7 p.m., South; March 19, 1 p.m., East (registration required, call 704-216-7841); March 21, 9:30 a.m., Headquarters. Your library card gives you access to some great online tools. From magazines and newspaper articles, legal forms and language learning, to test prep and auto repair, find it online and free courtesy of RPL. Classes are free. Sessions are about 90 minutes. Class size is limited and on a first come, first serve basis. Dates and times are subject to change without notice.

Children’s Storytime: Weekly through April 26. For more information. call 704-216-8234.

Headquarters — Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m., Toddler Time (18- to 35-month-olds); Wednesday, 11 a.m., Baby Time (6- to 23-month-olds); Thursday, 10:30 a.m., Preschool Time (3- to 5-year-olds); Thursday, 4 p.m., Noodlehead (4- to 8-years-olds.)

South — Monday, 4 p.m., Noodlehead; Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., Baby Time; 1:30 p.m., Preschool Time; Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Toddler Time.

East — Monday, 10 a.m., Baby Time; Monday, 11 a.m., Toddler Time; Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Preschool Time.

JR’s Adventure Club: Headquarters, March 2, 11 a.m. A different adventure each month for children of all ages. Call 704-216-8234 to learn more.

Children’s art in the afternoon: Headquarters, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m., grades kindergarten-five. Join Miss Jennifer to learn basic art techniques such as printing, sculpting and painting using various art mediums. Call 704-216-8234 for more information.

Elder program offered by attorney Bob Mason: Headquarters, Thursday, 3 p.m., Stanback Auditorium. Mason will repeat his elder law seminar “How to Pay for Nursing Home Care without Losing your Shirt.” He will provide the straight facts based on his experience as a board certified specialist in elder law. This program was originally presented Jan. 17 and is being offered again.

Darrell Connor & Friends in concert: Headquarters, Thursday, 7 p.m., Stanback Auditorium. Connor and Friends will perform a variety of country, bluegrass, beach, old rock ‘n roll and Southern gospel music. He has played twice at the Grand Ole Opry and once at Ernest Tubb’s Midnight Jamboree in Nashville. Doors open at 6:30. Free admission and light refreshments.

Book Chats for Children: South (only), Thursday, 4:15 p.m., “Superfudge” by Judy Blume, grades 3-4. March 21, 4:15 p.m., “Poppy” by Avi, grades 4-5. Children in grades 2-5 (different grade each month) are invited to participate. Registration is required and space is limited. Please call 704-216-7728 for more information.

Aging in Place workshop: Headquarters, March 14, 3 p.m., Jo Kerns, licensed senior transition specialist, will cover topics such as reorganizing closets and cupboards, sorting attic and other storage areas, and rearranging furniture. Admission free; no reservation required.

Teens tech week: All 5:30-7 p.m. South, March 12; East, March 25; headquarters, March 26. Check in at the library and explore digital devices such as Kindles, Nooks and iPads. Open to all middle and high school students. For more information call 704-216-8234.

PAC Club: Headquarters, March 16, 1 p.m. Calling all sports fans, athletes or those who like to read about sports. The PAC Club will celebrate Matt Christopher and his sports books with activities and crafts for school-aged kids. Call 704-216-8234 for more information.

Classic chick film festival: Headquarters, March 21, 6:30 p.m., Stanback Auditorium. Come and be entertained with the women you love, and let us spoil you. We begin the evening with light refreshments, followed by a series of short films. In between films, we’ll show commercials from the 1950s and 1960s. We’ll also be pampering you with foot soaks, facials and more. Admission is free, but space is limited. Ensure your spot today by registering online (www.rowanpubliclibrary.org) or by calling 704-216-8229.

Book Bites Club: South (only), March 26, 6:30 p.m., “Winter Garden” by Kristin Hannah. Book discussion groups for adults and children meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information, please call 704-216-8229.

Displays for February: headquarters, log cabins by North Hills Christian School; South, pen and jewelry by Fred Lorenzo; East, stamping by Glenda Trexler.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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