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Island of Certainty: How BookBuilders can help beginning readers

Michele Dufresne

teaching tip

Making a BookBuilder story for a child who is just beginning to read can be very helpful. One of the first words a student will recognize is her own name. Her name is an “island of certainty” in a sea of only partially known information.

I have also discovered that students love to see their name or a friend’s name in stories. Other teachers have noticed this as well and have been asking me to write BookBuilder stories for their more proficient readers. I am pleased to tell you some of them are finally written and we will be briefly sharing a few of them at BookBuilderOnline.com. You can try one of the new stories called Blue and Green Boots (Level 15/I).

Tips for using BookBuilders with students

Before asking a student to read the book, I recommend providing your students with a brief introduction like this:

"This is a story about a girl with the same name as Mary! In this story, there has been a snowstorm and Mary wants to go play in the snow. But when Mary goes to put on her boots she can find only one of her blue boots. The other blue boot is missing and in its place is a green boot! Let’s see how she solves this problem."

Next, look at the pictures together. As you look at the pictures and make predictions, ask the students to locate one or two words that might be new and difficult, such as knocked on page 6, or pointed on page 7.

After reading the story, have a brief discussion. I like to ask open-ended questions that generate conversation:

  • "How do you think Mary ended up with one green and one blue boot?"
  • "What would you have done?"

I hope your students enjoy the new Bookbuilder story!

Michèle Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books  early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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