Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Silly Story Laboratory by Nora Gaydos and B.B. Sams (Innovative Kids UK Ltd)

As Charlotte's reading skills improve, she is starting to 'play' with words more and is becoming more interested in ways of using the language that stretch beyond phonics exercises or stories. Making up silly rhymes, even making up silly words all seem to help her structure what she's doing and also seem to help massively when she's reading tricky words or something unfamiliar.

The Silly Story Laboratory from Innovative Kids really fired up her imagination and it's a really good idea. Taking word types, splitting them into groups by colour then inviting children to 'slot' them into an existing story theme. Nouns, Verbs and Adjectives are grouped on little magnetic tiles and once a child has chosen a theme (everything from holidays to snow to detailing their dreams) they can start to really play with words.

The Silly Story Laboratory makes recommendations on each page of the words that you're supposed to use. But where's the fun in that when you can make up a completely hatstand surreal story about someone going on holiday with an aubergine, or going sledging on their umbrella banana submarine!

The book is well presented with an absolute ton of word tiles (which, handily, can also be used on the fridge or radiators for a bit of subversive concrete poetry!). The only thing that lets the book down is the annoying place that the word storage 'envelope' is placed - right inside the front cover - and it's not easy to remove to allow children to use the book more easily (perhaps containing the tiles in a separate and easily removable clear plastic envelope might've been a better idea here).

A dry-wipe marker is also included in the book to allow adults and children to circle important words, or draw great little doodles on the 'dream' page.

Once children's lingual skills become stronger and they start playing with the language more, they'll really get a kick out of making up silly stuff and this is a brilliant and innovative way of doing just that.

Charlotte's best bit: Her 'Dream' story about her flying banana.

Daddy's favourite bit: Great illustrations and a gigantic collection of word tiles to play with make this a really interesting, educational and original idea. More please!

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