A fascinating thing happened in class the other day. I just have to share it with you.
I recently introduced the Elementary students of ILM to a wonderful series of graded reading books. The result was so immensely gratifying. We busted a myth, witnessed the importance of inner drive and in general had an amazing time! Read on…
The series of books is called “Mac and Tab“. (Side note: Don’t worry Mac is a mouse, not an Apple Computer and Tab is a tabby cat, not the ubiquitous device we are so familiar with). Let me explain what makes this particular series so special.
1. Gradual Progression
The Mac and Tab series, progresses in a super gradual way from the most basic words and sentences to mid-level reading and then to advanced and beyond.
Sure other similar books do it too. But not step by step. What I mean is, not baby-step by baby-step. The Mac and Tab series has 50 books! 50 books to cover so that a little one can go from the basics to complex sentences, without faltering and while enjoying the adventures of two refreshingly innocent characters.
Here is the first pages of the first level of books:
And by the time children reach the last level of the series this is what they can read comfortably:
2. Focus on one learning objective at a time:
The second beautiful aspect of these series of books is that each set of books concentrates on one decoded rule only. For eg.
– a-e words (Long vowel sound. eg. Cake, Take, Lake, etc.)
– Or ay words (Way, Lay, Hay, May etc.)
– Or sh words (Crash, Stash, Mash etc.)
– Or ow words (How, Cow, Now and so on)
The magic I believe lies in the fact that the child doesn’t go through a dry list of words. He has a definite purpose – putting the story together. In the process getting tons of practice, fuelled by genuine inner drive and motivation.
3. The myth that was.
‘Kids want big, eye catching coloured books. Otherwise it is difficult to sustain their interest.‘
You see the “Mac and Tab” books are not coloured. They aren’t even gray-scale. They are plain old black and white illustrations. The ILM munchkins gravitated towards them of their own accord and gobbled them up (*burp*) with focused intensity. Hence, it’s not necessarily the pictures, but engaging the students at just their right reading level, that generates interest.
Anyway, here’s a YouTube video of a child comfortably reading a book from this series. And you can see why. The words are so carefully selected, that they just roll off the boy’s tongue.
In closing, here are some endearing pics of ILM students lost in the exciting new world of “Mac and Tab”.