Thursday 10 January 2013

Jack and the Beanstalk / Rumpelstiltskin (Marks and Spencer First Readers)

With the buzz surrounding children's reading for pleasure vs children's curriculum-based reading, it's quite nice to be able to take another look at Marks and Spencer's excellent range of First Readers books. We added a couple of these to Charlotte's christmas stocking, and she already has quite a few at home too. The reason we like them is because they successfully bridge the gap between reading for pleasure and reading to learn, with stories adults and children are familiar with - often beautifully illustrated by some of the top 'pens for hire' in the industry.

'Jack and the Beanstalk' tells the tale of a young lad and some magic beans. We've all heard the story before, but the First Readers treatment of it is great fun and of course - most importantly - introduces key words, repeated phrases and a good dose of excitement to help children increase their vocabulary while enjoying an exciting story.

'Rumpelstiltskin' is also fairly familiar (I'm always puzzled why Disney haven't 'had a go' at either of these btw!) but recalling the story reminded me what an absolute CAD the Prince was in the story. The poor girl should've ditched him the minute he started demanding more and more gold yet she went ahead and married him in the end (sorry if that's something of a spoiler for you - BTW the ship sinks in 'Titanic' too... :)

These are fantastic books, as are the rest of the range - and priced very attractively too. If you're looking for books that are educational without feeling too shallow or disjointed like some phonics books can, they're nigh-on essential.

Charlotte's best bit: The beautiful Princess in Rumpelstiltskin (who is FAR too good for that rotten old greedy prince!)

Daddy's favourite bit: The perfect example of how story books can add to and enhance a child's learning curve when early reading.