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New Penguin Kids Titles

Penguin Kids new titles 2013

I first reviewed this series here.

Just to recap, this is a fantastic resource for young beginners who are just getting started with graded readers. The books are extremely attractive and have interesting content. The levels start very low at level 1 (200 headwords) and only go up in jumps of 200 from there up to level 6 (1200 headwords).

I received the new titles for this year last week. Unlike last year’s releases, which were all based on Disney titles, this year’s books are a mixture of new Disney material alongside non-fiction content.

I really like the non-fiction books. They have big, attractive photographs and are interesting. I tried them out with some students yesterday (just put them on the desk as they came into class and let them read before we started) and I had difficulty getting them to put the books down so we could start the class! Always a good sign.

If you have a reading library for children or teenagers this series is well worth a look, especially now that it has its full 12 books per level.

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Penguin Kids Readers

Resuming our kids’ readers roundup after a brief hiatus 🙂

I received a set of these a couple of weeks ago from the publisher (thanks!). While I appreciate the gesture, it will not affect how I review them here.

Having said that, this is a fantastic new series that has a lot going for it. There are currently 23 readers over six levels of difficulty.

Level 1 (200 headwords)
Level 2 (400 headwords)
Level 3 (600 headwords)
Level 4 (800 headwords)
Level 5 (1000 headwords)
Level 6 (1200 headwords)

As you can see, the jump between levels is fairly minimal, something that is extremely important for beginner and younger readers.

The current titles are all based on Disney films, and the artwork and covers are beautiful. The writing isn’t bad, either, in that the books actually tell coherent stories. That is often a problem with low-level readers based on films or TV content -they try to fit in too much with a minimal wordlist so the stories end up not making sense. Luckily that is not the case here. In many of the books they have taken just one scene from a film and told that. Our students found the books really attractive due to the topics, but there was enough of a spread that they had not seen all of the movies featured.

Another thing I liked were the simple exercises in the back of the books. They have pre-reading and post-reading questions that are visual and fairly easy -perfect to do in class after reading or to check out of class reading. If anything, I would have liked to see this section be slightly longer.

Apparently the series will end up having twelve books at each level, and there will be different content in the next wave of books (ie not just Disney).

Overall, this is a fantastic new resource. We ended up ordering two more sets, and I’m really looking forward to the release of the rest of the books in this series.