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.

6 Apr 2012, 10:29am
by Trevor Lawless


Are you using the MP3’s available on the website? I only listened to one of them (The Jungle Book), but I thought it seemed a bit on the slow and dull and side.

Hi Trevor

Thanks for the tip! I hadn’t seen the MP3s, but will check them out today.

I have now looked at and listened to the audio files.

They seem fine, except for the incomprehensible decision to have each couple of pages as a separate mp3 file for download as the only option!

I can see this being useful for some teachers as AN option, but I would much rather have the following two options first:

1. a nice, easy button to play the file online so my students can listen at home
2. the whole story as one mp3 so I can make CDs for the few students that don’t have the internet at home

Penguin, pretty please 🙂

[…] I first reviewed this series here. […]


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