Thursday, September 25, 2014

On Beyond Zombie Linky Party #2 - Super Hero Early Readers

My children love superheroes and we include them often in our learning activities. We also typically read for several hours a day, and that often involves a superhero or two and some dolls or action figures. We use these moments to learn about the characters, their stories and what makes them a superhero. Bean understands that superheroes are good guys who fight to protect innocents and the Earth from bad guys (and sometimes environmental or galactic disasters).

Bean is getting to the point where she wants to read on her own, so we have picked up a handful of early readers to help her. Young children are usually discouraged when they look at a page that has what seems like a million words on it. Early readers typically have three levels. The first level has simple text and word repetition for Pre-K to 1st Grade readers. The second level has simple story lines, compound sentences and contractions for Kindergarten to 2nd Grade readers. The third level has paragraphs, suspenseful story lines and character development for 1st Grade to 3rd Grade readers. We tend to stick to the Level 1 books, but we will read the Level 2 and 3 books at story time.

Compare Level 1 to Level 3. Bean loves to challenge herself, which is why she will often choose the higher level books to read. And they are "more interesting." 

Our top three superhero Early Reader books: The Avengers, Spider-Man and The Kree-Skrull War. 

The Avengers introduces the characters, talks about their weapons (ex. Cap's shield, Thor's hammer) or superpowers and the team that they are on. We've used this book to work on vocabulary, reading comprehension, and even simple math (comparing size for Ant-Man and Wasp and counting the members of the team). This is the perfect introductory book for a future comic reader. 

Spider-Man introduces the character as Peter Parker and his secret identity as Spider-Man. This short story also talks about the social elements of Peter/Spider-Man's life. Bean was so surprised when she found out Spider-Man had a personal life and wasn't just Spider-Man 24/7. That led us to talk about the other characters and how most of them have a real name and a life outside of being a superhero. Except Thor. He's Thor whether he's on Earth or in Asgard. 

Finally, the Avengers Kree-Skrull War book gives the readers a view into the Marvel Universe. This book is definitely above Bean's reading level, however she does read the words she knows, and we typically read word for word. The Level 3 books go into more detail about the adventures the character's go on and some of the major plots from the Avengers story line. Bean likes this story in particular because it has aliens in it. (And yes, she knows of, and adores, Groot!)

Whenever a book introduces a new character, we consult our Meet The Marvel Super Heroes book to read up about them. This book provides a brief summary of the character, including their real name, super hero name, and some information about their life and super powers. (Hopefully they release a villain book, too. It'd be like a monster manual for the super hero world.)

Ideas to help to support literacy skills:

Use toys or costumes to bring the stories to life! Pretend to be super heroes who save the day by dressing up in your favorite super heroes costume or use your action figures to set the scene and take down the bad guy! 
Encourage your child to tell stories about their adventures.
Write stories down in an adventure journal! 
And if they can't write, but they want to work on their storytelling skills, they can use word cards (make your own by using index cards) to "write" their own sentences. 

These super cute Itty Bittys can be found at The Paper Store! Grammy picked them up a few days ago and since then they have become constant companions. Bean calls them her "pocket pals" - like super hero Pokemon! They love joining us for reading time! We plan to collect Iron Man and Hulk too, but it's so sad that they don't have Thor!

Bean is reading to Spider-Man, telling him that his real name is Peter Parker and he wears a costume.

Here's a few of our favorite superhero early readers:
The Mighty Avengers: These are the Avengers
The Amazing Spider-Man: This is Spider-Man
The Invincible Iron Man: This is Iron Man
World of Reading Marvel Boxed Set: Level 1
Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Falcon Takes Flight
The Guardians of the Galaxy Level 1 Reader: These are the Guardians
The Avengers: Assemble! Level 2
World of Reading: The Story of the X-Men
The Mighty Avengers: The Story of the Avengers

In addition to the Early Reader books, we also have a handful of comics that we read to them. We stock up on kid-friendly comics on Free Comic Book Day (first Saturday in May). Be sure to check out the OBZ Linky Party next week to see our post on comics and reading to kids!

This week I am featuring Planet Smarty Pants' Encouraging Our Kids to Tinker post from last weeks' Linky Party! My kids absolutely love tinkering and have so much fun exploring with how tools work and practice taking a-part and building things. 

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Suzy Homeschooler
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Munchkin and Bean
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Here's where YOU come in!

Link up your geeky or nerdy posts below! Comics, superheroes, LEGO, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, World of Warcraft, Magic the Gathering, math, science, STEM, video games, table top games, mythology, dragons, books, outer space, Star Wars, Star Trek, robotics, and any other geeky or nerdy activity you want to share!

Don't have a blog, but you want to share an activity idea or photo? Add it to the comments or email me at MunchkinandBean(at)yahoo(dot)com and I will do my best to include it as a Reader Idea in my next On Beyond Zombie Linky Party post!

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