Friday, January 27, 2017

Small Readers: Giraffes by Laura Marsh

It's been a while since I reviewed any National Geographic easy readers, but rest assured, I am still buying them diligently! I picked this one up because it was nominated for Cybils.

This level one reader has about 8 sections, each a page or two long. They cover general facts about giraffes, their habitats, fun facts, baby giraffes, how they protect themselves from predators, and their food and eating habits.

Back matter includes a guessing game with photos of things mentioned in the book, some vocabulary words, and a brief picture glossary. Like all National Geographic titles, this includes vibrant photographs as well as colorful text and backgrounds. Jokes and interesting facts are interspersed throughout the book.

There aren't really any publishers whose levels correspond to actual reading levels used in most schools, but I have a sneaking suspicion National Geographic is worse than most. This level one easy reader has lengthy and sometimes complex text. It's suggested for kids who are beginning to read on their own, but in our leveling system (our school uses Lexiles and we generally look at a variety of sources, including Fountas and Pinnell) it comes in as a level three which is almost an intermediate reader.

Verdict: Although the levels tend to be wildly off, these easy readers are still extremely popular with my beginning readers and I'm personally very skeptical about levels anyways. It does help to have a more accurate guide for parents and caregivers, which we do have available in several different forms. Otherwise, this is a fun, well-done easy reader that animal fans will enjoy tackling.

ISBN: 9781426324499; Published 2016 by National Geographic Kids; Purchased for the library

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