Rainbow Fairies questions - reading level? alternatives? What do I tell 1st grade? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 64 Old 08-05-2010, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I was looking up the Rainbow Fairy books on the Scholastic Book Wizard to find similar books for dd that I might not hate with a passion, and it says that they're at a 3rd grade level. Some are at 4th grade level. Really?

Dd (6, going into 1st grade) can read one of these books in about an hour, maybe less. What does that mean her reading level is? Is she really reading at 4th grade level? If that's the case, I'm starting to get really worried about what the school is going to do with her in 1st grade. Maybe I should go read loraxc's thread!

And on a different note, can someone suggest books for her that are similarly 'mystical' but not the same bleeping plot in every book? And have a little more balance in the characters? Ds complained that there aren't any good boy characters and no bad girl characters. All the girls are good, all the boys are bad (except for the fairy king, dd pointed out). Not exactly the message I want to give my daughter!

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#2 of 64 Old 08-05-2010, 06:14 PM
 
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My dd was reading those in about an hour too! I don't know her exact level of reading right now, but your dd is probably at least 2 grades ahead for reading. After we got through as many of the Rainbow Fairies as our library had (I think there are about 70), dd has been enjoying the Spiderwick series, which takes longer to read. She loves anything about fairies and dragons. I found some other dragon books by Carole Wilkinson which are quite a bit longer, but dd has not been that into them. I think she really likes blowing through the shorter books, rather than spending days and days on a single book. She likes book series like the creature books by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thorton Jones, My Weird School, Bailey School Kids, English Roses, and the mouse books by Geronimo Stilton.

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#3 of 64 Old 08-05-2010, 06:34 PM
 
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My daughter read those for a solid two years.
Believe me I searched everywhere for something else that would hold her interest. I found nothing. The closest thing is the Disney Fairy book line. DD liked these, but she did find items that were scary. She was younger than your dd. She is 6 now, and I think she could read those and not be scared. The Disney line has a bit more variation, and I personally feel are at a more difficult level.

I have difficulty believing these are a 4th grade reading material, but I'd say they probably are a 3rd grade level. For a bright child, I'd say maybe a 2nd grade level.

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#4 of 64 Old 08-05-2010, 06:42 PM
 
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wow, I think of these as being around the same level as Magic Treehouse or something -- I would not have said third or fourth grade.

Similar but less totally awful (from my adult perspective) -- the Pixie Tricks series. Still not exactly Nabokov, but a little more sophisticated. I must say my daughter loved Rainbow Magic, though, and I think the fact that it was bascially the same book over and over again was a big part of the attraction. And really, why else do adults read formulaic detective series or what have you?
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#5 of 64 Old 08-05-2010, 07:02 PM
 
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You really have to take those grade levels with a grain of salt. Scholastic says they are 3rd and 4th grade level. On the Lexile charts they are mostly 2nd grade with some early 3rd. I think Scholastic grade levels are inflated in general. They rate "The Secrets of Droon" books as 3rd to 4th grade and most of DS's 1st and 2nd grade classmates were downing them easily. By 3rd grade, none of the kids were interested in them at all and moving on to books like "The Borrowers" which Scholastic rates as 5.9.

Some others in that range... "The Secrets of Droon," "The Boxcar Children," "Magic Treehouse," "The Cobble Street Cousins." That's all I can really remember at the moment.

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#6 of 64 Old 08-05-2010, 09:08 PM
 
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I've made my peace with those @#$%$% books. We now refer to RM books as "the gateway drug." DD loved them, devoured them, requested new ones from the library. I'd put them at ~2 grade level.

They did motivate the definition of a new class of books in our house: "In your head only books." You're welcome to read them. I won't read them to you.

Better reading: Fairy Realm (higher reading level, mostly due to variety of plot); Ivy and Bean (not fairies, but so good), Fairy's Mistake (and subsequent ones in that series); traditional fairy tales and then segue into Sister's Grimm (more like 5th grade level?); American Girl (I was surprised at how much value I found in these, generally strong girl character, reasonably historically accurate)
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#7 of 64 Old 08-05-2010, 10:34 PM
 
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I call them second grade level. Same as Magic Treehouse.

I would recommend any Cicely Mary Barker flower fairy book or there are the Emily Windsnap books but those are at a solid fourth grade level.

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#8 of 64 Old 08-05-2010, 11:12 PM
 
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My almost 6 year old reads those, too. I would definitely put them in the late 2nd grade range. I looked those up a while back on the Scholastic site and the grade level equivalent scores are definitely too high. I think things like sentance structure come into play when books are assigned grade equivalents, so it could have to do with how the book is written rather than the words used that are causing the values to be off.
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#9 of 64 Old 08-05-2010, 11:24 PM
 
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Yeah, I really don't think that is 4th grade. They read those in late K or 1st here, she sounds maybe late 1st. I don't take the numbers on those things seriously- an instructional level book for language is supposed to be so incredibly easy for them so the number attached doesn't mean as much.

My DD reads at about the same level, and also has really liked the Ivy and Bean series (not a lot harder, only maybe 90 minutes to two hours instead of 1, but more interesting at least) as well as the Magic Half by the same author. She's also into the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and The Penderwicks stories. You might also try the Ordinary Princess by M. Kaye, and we have really liked the Spiderwick Chronicles (I would have thought it was too scary, because she's pretty sensitive, but she really liked them). Oh! And Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. She read it about 6 months ago when it was a bit hard for her, but I think it would be right on by now.

She has finished all the RF books, and I am not sad about it one bit! Actually there are probably more since she finished them a while ago, but I'm not beating myself up trying to find them...
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#10 of 64 Old 08-06-2010, 12:02 AM
 
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I wouldn't get too hung up over which reading level scale is "correct" and which is "wrong."

To begin with, reading level is a multifaceted issue, and one scale will focus more on one facet than another. A book can have a totally different reading level if you based it on vocabulary but ignored length than it would if you based it on length instead of vocabulary, or comprehension, or interest level, or the size of the print, etc. I've noticed this often in the leveled readers I buy for DS, many of the level 1 book are too long for his low endurance, but many of the level 2 are a nice easy read for him since he is pretty good at decoding.

Then you have to consider the level for what kind of reading. Is it pleasure reading level? Is it instructional to improve fluency level? Is it we will discuss literature aspects like character and plot development level? Kids read at different levels depending on the reason they are reading.

Finally, her reading level is going to change anyway, so though the Rainbow fairies may have been her limit when she started them, she may be fine with harder books at this point. So, I would not be too concerned about reading level, and just find things you think will tickle her fancy.

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#11 of 64 Old 08-06-2010, 01:53 AM
 
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I wouldn't get too hung up over which reading level scale is "correct" and which is "wrong."
I agree in general but if the plan was to use these books as proof of needed accomodation, certainly a more accurate level would be neccessary. Certainly, this child will need some accomodation in 1st grade. She may very well be reading at the 4th grade level (lots of kids read below level due to age and interests.) However, you wouldn't want to meet with the teacher using these books as proof of 4th grade level reading KWIM.

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#12 of 64 Old 08-06-2010, 03:27 AM
 
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These are really not a fourth grade level book by any reasonable measure. They're first or second grade level books, although some older kids still enjoy them. A first grader who is reading at the Rainbow Fairy level should not require any really significant amount of accommodation -- obviously, this means she's reading fluently and thus she shouldn't need basic literacy instruction, but any first grade teacher who can't differentiate to that degree needs to find a new job.

My rising first grader is reading Rainbow Fairy books and I don't expect her to need a hugely differentiated curriculum. She's a very normal sort of bright, not the sort of bright that confounds teachers because they don't know WTF to do with her. (My older daughter, the summer between K and 1st, read Murder on the Orient Express. Not a wildly appropriate book, but we were on a trip and she'd run out. She couldn't read the French bits but seemed to otherwise follow the plot, and she really liked mysteries, so...)
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#13 of 64 Old 08-06-2010, 06:33 AM
 
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There will be probably at least a handful of other incoming 1st graders who are reading the equivalent of Rainbow Fairies.

As for alternatives: I was going to suggest Beverly Cleary, but that's not mystical (unless you consider a motorcyle loving mouse mystical!). Or Shel Silverstein, but he is more silly than fairy-y.

Why not start introducing her to Hans Christian Andersen and other fairy tales and folklore? Sanitized versions if you feel more comfortable doing so. They'll probably be more in a picture book format (though your DD may be ready or close to ready to reading them as is, esp. the shorter tales). Edward Lear (beyond Owl and Pussycat)? Folklore, esp. if you branch out all over the world can be really cool and interesting for the kids as they get into it.

That being said, I really don't expect most children's books to be great literature, and frankly "great literature" can be mindnumbingly formulaic. I've tried to keep a hands off approach and to keep my mouth shut and hopefully my eyes from rolling when they get obsessed with a particular series. It doesn't last forever. And it could be worse--just wait and see what happens if one of your kids develops a graphic novel or comic obsession--they're probably never going to grow out of that!
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#14 of 64 Old 08-06-2010, 10:58 AM
 
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I don't think they're 4th grade, but I think they're late 2ndish, possibly early 3rd. DD was reading those in K and there was no one else in her class anywhere close to that. In fact, a teacher commented that her third graders all are reading them. This is a university town and DD's school has a lot of bright kids, but it is not very academic in focus and it does seem like DD's class is behind many K classes discussed here. Still, I'm surprised to hear that other consider these late K books--really, like the class reads them in K? That seems very advanced to me. The highest reading group in 1st grade here was reading Junie B. Jones, which are easier than RF books.

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A first grader who is reading at the Rainbow Fairy level should not require any really significant amount of accommodation -- obviously, this means she's reading fluently and thus she shouldn't need basic literacy instruction, but any first grade teacher who can't differentiate to that degree needs to find a new job.
Again, I don't really agree with this, but maybe DD's school is unusual. I would think a semiaverage 1st grade class would have 1 kid at this level at the startd of first, which is just 1 kid.

But I guess you have to go by what your kid's class is like. I would try to get a gauge of what your DD can enjoy reading beyond RF books, though. DD read the entire RF series because she loved them and they were at her emotional level, but she also can read harder stuff. Here are some recs:

Magic Kitten/Magic Puppy series (Sue Bentley)--about exactly that level
fairy books by Gail Herman
Pixie Tricks series
Catwings series (these are somewhat harder and are good literature)
Unicorn's Secret series by Kathleen Duey (these are also good quality, yay!)
Fairy Chronicles series by JH Sweet (significantly harder and I think the writing is awful, but DD likes them)
Fairy Realm series by Emily Rodda
The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz (this one is great!)
The Fairy Rebel by Lynne Banks (harder)
Earth Magic series by Mallory Loehr

I got DD the Spiderwick series, but she is freaked out by the pictures.

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#15 of 64 Old 08-06-2010, 11:27 AM
 
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Thank goodness I found this thread!

DD has been reading the Rainbow Magic books since Kindergarten. She loves them and reads them independantly, so I don't have to deal with them that much.

I think I will look into the Fairy Realm books. Do they have pictures? That's where we are hung up with DD. She reads at a very advanced level, but she's six...she still wants to see pictures. And, like loraxc's DD, the Spiderwick pictures squick her out.

Last year, in first grade, DD's advanced reading group read some Judy Blume, all the Fudge books. And Freckle Juice, which resulted in my having to pick DD up early after they made freckle juice and she got sick to her stomach. That's totally not relevant to the discussion, but it still irritates me.
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#16 of 64 Old 08-06-2010, 11:37 AM
 
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Still, I'm surprised to hear that other consider these late K books--really, like the class reads them in K? That seems very advanced to me.
I think age of kindies makes a big difference. For example, kindies reading this material in a neighboring city of ours it normal. You know why? That district requires 2 years of kindie for any kid who isn't 6 or almost 6 when entering kindergarten. This means they routinely have kindies turning 7 before the promote to 1st. Sure, many 7-year-olds can read chapter books, no surprise. In our district, we still have a Dec cut-off so 4-year-olds are allowed to start kindie. Red-shirting has become the norm since full-day kindie started. So while there were only two 7-year-olds at the end of DS's kindie, the class as a whole was more 6 than 5. Far more kids were reading decently than in DD's class where red-shirting was not yet the trend and the class was closer to 5 than 6.

You also have to consider who you are talking to. None of us has a great sense of normal lol. I worked as a reading tutor in DD's school for several years and so have a little better sense than when I just had my own kids. No, it's not typical for 5-year-olds to be reading these books. You see it more with 6's and 7's but I still wouldn't say it's typical.

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#17 of 64 Old 08-06-2010, 11:50 AM
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I think of those as 2nd grade, maybe 3rd grade. Similar to Magic Tree House. I know that many kids in my son's first grade class were reading at that level (Magic Tree House, Boxcar Children, Rainbow Fairies were the most popular). He was reading them (not the fairies but the other two) by the end of 1st and he is right on track with the reading levels ("I" at the end of 1st). My 4 yr. old can read them but he can also read higher level books like Charlotte's Web, Ramona, and Stuart Little that I would consider 4th grade.
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#18 of 64 Old 08-06-2010, 12:44 PM
 
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ok, this sounds silly, but I myself looooove the spiderwick chronicles. Not that i've read many of them, but when I was in school to be a teacher, I read a bunch of kids books like that and spiderwick was fun. I think my kids are still too young for them (would be scared)... not that DD's quite up to reading that yet, but I think she could be within a few months...

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#19 of 64 Old 08-06-2010, 01:11 PM
 
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ok, this sounds silly, but I myself looooove the spiderwick chronicles. Not that i've read many of them, but when I was in school to be a teacher, I read a bunch of kids books like that and spiderwick was fun. I think my kids are still too young for them (would be scared)... not that DD's quite up to reading that yet, but I think she could be within a few months...
No silly at all. A good story is a good story no matter who it was intentionally written for. Personally, I've read a ton of "children's literature." I get tired or reading about depressed adults in real life situations lol. I LOVED the Series of Unfortunate Events, Harry Potter, Molly Moon, Inkheart, ect. They were fun reads and nice to just pick-up and enjoy at times. I equate them to popcorn movies.... maybe not the most challenging, maybe not the most intellectually enriching but a fun/relaxing way to spend the evening.

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#20 of 64 Old 08-06-2010, 01:58 PM
 
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No silly at all. A good story is a good story no matter who it was intentionally written for. Personally, I've read a ton of "children's literature." I get tired or reading about depressed adults in real life situations lol. I LOVED the Series of Unfortunate Events, Harry Potter, Molly Moon, Inkheart, ect. They were fun reads and nice to just pick-up and enjoy at times. I equate them to popcorn movies.... maybe not the most challenging, maybe not the most intellectually enriching but a fun/relaxing way to spend the evening.
When I need cheap bedtime reading, I won't turn my nose up at decent length children's books from the $1 box. I read both The Princess Academy and Lexi's Tale b/c I ran across them while looking for books for DS in the $1 box.

It has other advantages too. I can hang on to them for just a year or two and DS will be ready for them. Also, when DS is reading over my shoulder or picks them up off the bed (we co-sleep,) I don't have to worry that they are as inappropriate as many of the grown up books I read are.

BTW, the princess academy is at a much higher reading level than what I saw of the Rainbow Fairy books. I think b/c our children progress through the levels more quickly than is typical, they may not seem like as huge a leap as they really are. I think my dyslexia may give me a slightly better perspective on the differences in reading levels, since I remember what would have been really hard for me at various ages. Rainbow Fairies looks like some thing I could have struggled through in 3rd grade, but wouldn't have been really comfortable with till 4th (though by those grades I'd also have found them mind numbingly dull, if the snippettes I read on Amazon are reasonably representative.)

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#21 of 64 Old 08-06-2010, 02:03 PM
 
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I wouldn't get too hung up over which reading level scale is "correct" and which is "wrong."
When DD was in K and 1, I paid attention to reading levels. She was advancing quickly, becoming a stronger reader by reading the occasional harder book, and her vocabulary grew by leaps and bounds. But jumping ahead too fast, giving her a book beyond her level, led to frustration. We also had a huge mismatch in reading level and maturity that led me to be quite careful with the material.

I stopped feeling the need to pay attention in early second grade. She'd reached a level of reading where subject matter was what she was getting out of it. Her reading level is so high that the lack of challenge by reading 2-3 grade levels is no biggie.

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I think I will look into the Fairy Realm books. Do they have pictures?
A few, not as many as RM.

DD was in a 1/2 class for both years with the same teacher. It took me a year and a half to figure out that DD was getting no specific reading instruction at all. Indeed, her school seems to "teach" reading to fluent readers (~1 grade level or more) by having them read independently from the books available in the classroom. Almost all reading instruction is done via reading recovery. When I finally figured this out and complained, DD got reading instruction in her hastily assembled "reading group." Twice.

I started sending in books, requiring that DD only read from those I'd sent in, and did my own reading instruction. I mostly achieved that through discussing the books with her on our walk to school each morning. That was leaps and bounds above what she'd been getting, and in fact, quite sufficient.

{This summer another parent in a similar situation assembled a book club for kids in that category. Brilliant. DD needed it and has gotten so much out of it.}

I think that the OP is right to wonder if she's got something to concern herself with next year given the consuming-inhaling-drinking in these books the OP describes in a rising first grader. If I were to do it again, I would probably ask the teacher to specifically assess the girl's reading level and discuss how instruction will proceed (including frequency and duration of instruction). It could be a problem, and it could be a non-issue. It depends on the teacher, the school, and the school's its approach to reading.
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#22 of 64 Old 08-06-2010, 05:06 PM
 
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In my older daughter's kindergarten class, there was one other kid who DEFINITELY was reading the RF by first grade (I know this for sure because we stayed in touch), another who I assume was based on what she was reading in K, and another who certainly would've been reading them by October or November of 1st grade even if she wasn't reading them over the summer.

This was at an inner-city school, FTR, not some sort of fancy suburb.

Obviously these kids were ahead of the expected standard. But IMO fluently reading early chapter books like the RF books at the beginning of first grade means that the kid is ahead in a manageable way (unless the teacher is the sort of bonehead that insists that EVERYONE MUST BE DOING THE SAME THING AT THE SAME TIME which frankly is bad for every child, gifted or not.)

If the teacher is going to have the kids learn the Dolch words in class, this kid should not have to do that. They should get spelling that's at their level, which may or may not be what the other first graders are doing. The great thing about literacy instruction time and the advanced reader is that the obvious thing to let the kid do is read.
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#23 of 64 Old 08-06-2010, 06:58 PM
 
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I don't know what grade level they are but my oldest read all the Rainbow Fairy books last year in 1st grade. I really didn't like how fast she read through them...I'd buy her a new one and she'd read the whole thing in the the car while going to get her sister at preschool, like 20 minutes. Our library didn't carry the complete collection so I was mostly buying them like two at a time. Finally, I found the Mermaid S.O.S series, which was a step up and took a while longer. After that she got into the Emily Windsnap series.

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#24 of 64 Old 08-07-2010, 12:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the recommendations. I'll definitely keep a list. Princess Academy and the Unicorn books are ones to try next, I think. She'll read Animal Ark books (about the same level, maybe a bit higher) and Pony Pals (also about the same level), but they don't capture her imagination like the RM books do. A lot of the books that loraxc recommended look good (we've read Catwings and all of the Beverly Cleary books as read-out-loud books).

I agree fully that these seem more like 2nd grade material than 3rd or 4th, but I wanted a reality check.

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However, you wouldn't want to meet with the teacher using these books as proof of 4th grade level reading KWIM.
Exactly. FWIW, I don't think she's at a 4th grade level, but I think probably about 3rd. And as someone else pointed out, it's not so much the grade level, but the fact that her reading level is progressing faster than typical.

I don't expect her to require a hugely differentiated curriculum, but it will need to be differentiated, partly based on our school. There was only one child in ds' 1st grade class that came in reading chapter books (and ds wasn't one of them; his reading didn't shoot up until 2nd grade). We're a Title I school with 70% ESL kids. At 1st grade, their language just isn't as advanced. By 4th grade, things even out a bit more.

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BTW, the princess academy is at a much higher reading level than what I saw of the Rainbow Fairy books. I think b/c our children progress through the levels more quickly than is typical, they may not seem like as huge a leap as they really are. I think my dyslexia may give me a slightly better perspective on the differences in reading levels, since I remember what would have been really hard for me at various ages. Rainbow Fairies looks like some thing I could have struggled through in 3rd grade, but wouldn't have been really comfortable with till 4th (though by those grades I'd also have found them mind numbingly dull, if the snippettes I read on Amazon are reasonably representative.)
Interesting -- for some of them, I might buy 3rd, but not 4th. And yes, the snippets on Amazon are representative. They are mind-numbingly dull.

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When DD was in K and 1, I paid attention to reading levels. She was advancing quickly, becoming a stronger reader by reading the occasional harder book, and her vocabulary grew by leaps and bounds. But jumping ahead too fast, giving her a book beyond her level, led to frustration. We also had a huge mismatch in reading level and maturity that led me to be quite careful with the material.
Yes, this is exactly what I'm worried about. She's emotionally highly sensitive (see my thread about phobias). She's afraid of the tooth fairy and can articulate fairly well why -- "it's just too weird. This person comes in your house at night while you're sleeping and takes something and then leaves something behind. That's just creepy." She cries when cello music plays sometimes.

Heck the RM books put her off for a bit because the goblins were 'scary'. It wasn't until she'd read 3 or 4 of them and realized that they never really did anything scary that she started to inhale them. She's rejected the magic kitten/magic puppy books because they are 'too scary'. So, apparently, she likes exceedingly dull.


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I think that the OP is right to wonder if she's got something to concern herself with next year given the consuming-inhaling-drinking in these books the OP describes in a rising first grader. If I were to do it again, I would probably ask the teacher to specifically assess the girl's reading level and discuss how instruction will proceed (including frequency and duration of instruction). It could be a problem, and it could be a non-issue. It depends on the teacher, the school, and the school's its approach to reading.
Our school tests every child's reading level at the beginning, middle and end of the year. But, they only test for 'benchmark', so it'll tell us if she's meeting/exceeding the 1st grade benchmarks, but I don't know if they'll give her the 2nd/3rd grade benchmarks to see where she's at. But I think I can request that, especially if she exceeds 1st grade benchmark at the 1st assessment. Unfortunately, they don't have a similar system for math. She's not as advanced for math, but she was definitely the most advanced for math of the K class (writing and solving the kinds of story problems that ds did at the end of 1st grade).

I'm pretty sure the school can meet her needs, but I do want them to be aware of her needs early on. If she gets bored, we're going to see it in her behavior at home. (Ds is just happy to daydream.)

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#25 of 64 Old 08-07-2010, 10:46 AM
 
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Still, I'm surprised to hear that other consider these late K books--really, like the class reads them in K? That seems very advanced to me. The highest reading group in 1st grade here was reading Junie B. Jones, which are easier than RF books.
It's been quite a while since my dds were in first grade, but as I recall the highest reading group in dd11's 1st grade class was reading choose-your-own-adventure books, which I do believe are somewhat harder than Rainbow Fairies. I'd say that most of the typical kids could read RF by the end of 1st at least.

Back to the original question, though, I found that my oldest, who loves to read, made quite a leap in reading level when we made a large leap in terms of the books we were offering her. The bonus was that the plots were much better as well. Have you considered offering some of the "good" books for older elementary kids such as Harry Potter? Dd11 and I read some of those together when she was 6. She'd read a page, I'd read two or three pages. It was surprising how much her reading took off when we went that route. Plus, I could stand reading them with her !
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#26 of 64 Old 08-07-2010, 11:08 AM
 
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I just wanted to put in a plug in for the Fairy Realm series by Rodda. My very sensitive dd1 started enjoying those stories at about that age. There are good male characters though any actual boys are incedental. It's very much a girl-oriented book with the main character being 1/4 fairy and 3/4 normal girl. The same author, Rodda, also has a series called Rowan of Rin that has a boy main character and then a third longer more intense series called the Key To Rondo. We've picked it up several times at the library, but never have actually read it. (I always check out too many books at the library!)

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#27 of 64 Old 08-07-2010, 11:50 AM
 
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I agree that the Fairy Realm books do seem better. Also, The Night Fairy one that I suggested looks like an actual classic in the making, and DD was completely entranced by it. I don't know if it's scary at all, though DD has a low tolerance for that as well (Magic Kitten is okay, though occasionally the endings make her cry because they're "too sad"!)

ETA that I picked the first Harry Potter the other day because I think DD could probably read it now, but after browsing a few pages I could tell that it's too intense and that the plot is too much for her right now.

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#28 of 64 Old 08-07-2010, 02:40 PM
 
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Thanks for the recommendations. I'll definitely keep a list. Princess Academy and the Unicorn books are ones to try next, I think. She'll read Animal Ark books (about the same level, maybe a bit higher) and Pony Pals (also about the same level), but they don't capture her imagination like the RM books do. A lot of the books that loraxc recommended look good (we've read Catwings and all of the Beverly Cleary books as read-out-loud books).


EEK!
I would definitely NOT recommend Princess Academy if you are talking about her reading the book on her own. I stopped reading it to my six year old as a read aloud, after I read ahead, and realized it would be a bad fit.

It's at a much higher reading level 4th - 6th, depending on what you look at.
More than that, though, I started it as a read aloud for my older daughter and stopped. I thought the scenes at the academy were fairly dark, especially for a child that gets scared of Rainbow magic fairies.
The teacher is 'mean', and will hit the girls hands if they talk out of turn, there is a scene where a child is locked in a dark closet with rats for 24+ hours.
This is NOT material for a sensitive first grader that was getting scared with the goblins.

Really, if she likes the Rainbow magic fairies, go with something a 'bit' more difficult, such as the Disney Fairy books. The wording is more complex, and the stories aren't the same every time.

My daughter started reading the Rainbow magic fairy books at 4, and those Disney Fairy books, were some of the ONLY other chapter books that she liked. As said, she flew through about 4-5 of these before she hit something that was a bit scary, but nothing on the order of Princess Academy.

It isn't that Princess Academy isn't a good book, but I felt it wasn't a good fit for a young sensitive child. At a minimum, read it through yourself first.

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#29 of 64 Old 08-07-2010, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Tammy -- that definitely sounds too intense for dd right now. Harry Potter is DEFINITELY too intense. Ds won't even tackle it, and it's well within his reading range. He just doesn't want to deal with the scary parts. He might be ready at the end of the summer. He's reading and enjoying A Series of Unfortunate Events, which are pretty dark.

Once we're done with the Rainbow Fairies, we'll try the Fairy Realm and The Night Fairy.

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#30 of 64 Old 08-07-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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I think that reading level (I'm talking about decoding ability, comprehension and endurance combined) is being confused with age level. My take on looking at a book like the Rainbow Fairies, is they are specifically focused at children who are early strong readers. I realized this while DS was looking at a book called Shortcut earlier today.

Shortcut has a minimum amount of words. There is really only minimal text, never more than 3 sentences on a page and usually just 1. The reading level is clearly much lower than that of the Rainbow Fairies books, especially in endurance. However, I would say Shortcut is the one aimed at an older audience. I suspect DS doesn't really get a lot of what is going on. I have read it to myself b/c I enjoyed it, and it is very witty and quite enjoyable.

There are a number of books, such as Floatsom that are aimed at older children that require a lot less (or even none) reading than the Rainbow Fairies and similar books. Many children will be well past being interested in books like the Rainbow Fairies long before they will be comfortable with the reading level. So, just b/c only kindergarteners, 1st graders and the occasional immature 2nd grader reads them does not mean they are at a 1st grade reading level, it just means they were written for 1st graders who have a high reading level but a typical interest/sensitivity level.

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