My First Books: Pre-Reading Skills, by Lynn Maslen Kertell, illustrated by John R. Maslen and Sue Hendra
This particular set of books contains twelve books that are divided into four parts of three books each, and each of the books in particular demonstrates certain patterns that makes them charming and humorous even for readers far more advanced than their target audience. If there is any particular skill that this set of books seeks to encourage and cultivate in its intended audience, it is a skill at pattern recognition when it comes to books. Our ability to read is greatly helped when we can recognize the patterns that a writer is using and playing with and then using our understanding of the writer’s approach to anticipate where he or she is going and to appreciate the subtle twists that make for satisfying conclusions. These books all demonstrate consistent patterns that take advantage of visual clues and a certain degree of wit and humor to demonstrate increasingly complex patterns of narration that end up in a humorous and satisfying twist that encourages the reader to think about what is being read, and although these books are certainly basic, they are also very satisfying and worthwhile reads for the young pre-reader who is seeking to begin the rewarding way of literacy.
This particular box set of small books published by noted children’s publisher Scholastic is divided as follows. The first three books introduce the simple shapes of the three main characters (I), all friends, where Sally is a circle, Seth is a square, and Tanner is a triangle. In the first book, the reader learns the shapes in a story about friendship (1). after that, the second story has the friends playing hide and seek so that the reader can find hidden shapes (2). After this the three friends have a picnic that encourages readers to match shapes (3). This is followed by three books that deal with sorting (II), including learning simple sorting in a mix-up (4), matching and sorting in a story involving fixing things (5), and sorting and classifying in a story about a parade (6). The third section of books deals with patterns (III), including learning simple patterns in a story about a block town (7), changing patterns in a story about three things in a row (8), and building complex patterns in a story about snow (9). The final three stories deal with the subject of sequencing (IV), with a story about getting ready providing the reader with the opportunity to learn simple sequences (10), using a guessing machine to predict sequences (11), and talking about the beach to build longer sequences (12). This book is one of a long series of books for pre-readers and early readers to both entertain and instruct.