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Rather than levelling the books for the very littlies, I have wire shelves
that hang flat against a wall, window, whatever and allow me to put the
books face out - so I have displayed all those favourite early series like
Elmer, Arthur, Franklin and so forth, as well as popular authors like Mem
Fox and Pamela Allen so the kids can find and get to them easily.

Not only does it help them overcome their 'fear' of 'big school' because
they see all their familiar favourites from pre-school, but it makes
selection in the initial few weeks easy.  I also zap thru the shelves in the
lunch hour before they come and pull out titles that are appropriate to
their interest level and scatter these on the table for them.

We have two brilliant Reading Recovery teachers who run several Parent
Participation Programs throughout the year to help parents learn how to help
their children and there is a v-e-r-y strong emphasis on reading aloud to
the child (Mem Fox says that if every child heard three stories a day from
the day they were born, illiteracy would be wiped out) so my purpose is to
target interest level, not ability, so that the child takes home something
that they can read with a parent.

In their classrooms they have levelled readers (based on the Reading
Recovery levels) and these are taken home daily as Home Readers, and this is
a widespread initiative throughout Canberra, if not Australia.  Both
approaches mean we have high literacy rates throughout the school, but there
are always going to be at least 3% who need long-term support, according to
Dr Marie Clay (and the normal bell curve!)


Barbara Braxton
Palmerston District Primary School

T. 61 2 6205 6162
F. 61 2 6205 7242

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