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I had a chance to check out Story Street (from Longman) this week. As you may know, I am a huge fan of reading and we use a huge range of readers in our kids classes, but I never had the chance to look at it properly before (I had glanced through it in a bookshop once, but didn’t really like the illustrations).
I was pleasantly surprised. I tried levels 1, 3, 6, and 10 and they were well-received by students. In fact, our students rated them higher than the Follifoot Farm readers (my personal favorite for making the jump from phonics to reading). Of course, FF is a series designed to provide decoding practice, so it is perhaps unfair to compare it to a full on kids reader series, but still, I was taken aback.
The stories are fun, the characters and situations develop as the levels progress, and the steps between levels are handled well. In fact, I liked the series so much that we’ll be introducing it to our classes as supplementary reading material.
There are a few things I don’t like:
-there are not enough books at each level, which means that we couldn’t use it as our main reading resource
-there are no word counts available, either on the books nor from the publisher
-the list of books for each level on the back of the books is wrong, as certain titles are out of print (this will be a problem when sharp-eyed kids notice that they haven’t read ‘all the books’)
None of these are huge problems, but they do mean that Story Street comes across as a little less polished than, say, the Oxford Reading Tree. Still, I’m looking forward to having our students explore the Street in the new year. I’ll report back after we’ve used it for a while.