Over the Easter holidays, Georgia was given two new reading books, again from the Oxford Reading Tree series. One was OK, thankfully, but the other, Gosh! ‘The children were fed up. “Yuk!,” said the children’
So while we are working to instil a positive mindset and to encourage Georgia not to say Yuck to food – how can it be right to the encounter all of these in reading books?
Time for a change. Thankfully, her class teacher Miss Jones was really understanding and recommended that we try books from another scheme, which she called Ginn books.
Apparently these books are quite ‘old’ but hey…as long as they’re not so depressing! I promise I’ll come back and provide a verdict after we’ve read them.
If the saying ‘You are what you read’ is true, and a large part of me firmly believes so, I am seriously worried about the reading books that are being sent home from school; Georgia’s school and I imagine hundreds of other schools around the country.
If I digress a bit, and generalise an awful lot, and very much through an immigrant’s eyes, Britain and the British are well known as a country of ‘moaners’. They admit it themselves, everything and anything is always ‘dark and gloom’.
In fact, I have a lovely lovely sweet neighbour who is a lovely chap except everytime I’ve ever spoken to him, he complains about something, or other, usually the weather, which he has absolutely no control over! Nothing is ever right.
Anyway, back to those dreaded reading books. Georgia’s reading books from school are from the Oxford Reading Tree series. They’ve been around a while, I gather and I suppose in itself, from an educational perspective, they are fairly well written with step-wise developments on words with progressively more words per page.
What I just can’t get over are the stories and how depressingly negative they are! Bif, Chip and Kipper along with Wilf and Wilma, are on the whole pretty interesting characters (well, as interesting as pen-drawn characters can get). But the things they get up to and the conversations they have though are enough to make me want to slit my wrists! (No kidding!)
Take for example, the latest story Georgia brought home. It’s called At the Seaside.
The words of the story go like this:
The family went on holiday. Wilf and Wilma went, too.
The hotel had burned down. ‘Sorry’ said the man.
They looked at a new hotel. ‘Too expensive,’ said Mum.
They looked at an old hotel. ‘No, thank you,’ said Dad.
Every hotel was full. ‘Sorry!’ said everyone.
They had to go home. But the car broke down.
A farmer stopped his tractor. ‘Can I help?’ he said.
The farmer had a bus. ‘You can stay here,’ he said.
‘What a good holiday!’ said Wilf.
Copyrights OUP 1989
At least this book ends in a slightly more positive note, but really, surely it’s not necessary for children to have such a depressingly negative start. I must add, though, even in the books with slightly perkier or funnier stories, they typically end with ‘Oh no!’
Do you think these (infant and primary school) 5-year old’s reading books could have been a significant contributing factor to how ‘negative’ (again, gross generalisation here!) British society has become?
The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter
Fast Fox Goes Crazy – Allan Ahlberg
Animal babies in ponds and rivers – Kingfisher Press
Yum Yum Poppy Cat – Lara Jones **
Ridiculous – Michael Coleman
Lemono P – Sam McBratney; Catharine O’Neill – enjoyed by now purposely says LemonoP Instead of LMNOP
Little Lucie’s DIary – Louise Pfanner
Off to the Fair – Christopher Wormell
Books from Caldicot Library that Georgia has read these past two weeks from 8 July – 22 July.
Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson
A Cuddle for Claude by David Wojtowycz ***favourite!
Carlo Likes Reading by Jessica Spanyol
That’s Why? by Babette Cole
Please be Quiet by Mary Murphy ***another favourite
One to Ten and Back Again by Nick Sharratt and Sue Heap ***another favourite
The Busy Busy Day by Claire Freedman and Daniel Howarth
What Pet to Get? by Emma Dodd
What Shall We Do, Blue Kangaroo? by Emma Chichester Clark
Monkey Tricks by Camilla Ashforth
Big Bears Can! by David Bedford & Gaby Hansen
Little Pig Figwort by Herietta Branford
Little Rabbit Lost by Harry Horse ** favourite
The Scallywags by David Melling
Seven Ways to Catch the Moon by M.P. Robertson
You’ll Soon Grow Alex by Andrea Shavick & Russell Ayto