(Grades 2 & 3 below)
*Eleven full-colour activity-based readers each containing 4-5 stories, lists of Bright words and Bright things to do.
*A Teacher’s Guide with assessment guidelines and critical and specific outcomes alongside a wealth of activities.
*A pupil’s Workbook.
*Four wall charts
The eleven readers form the core of an exciting South African activities-based reading scheme that appeals to all children. The fun characters, familiar surroundings and stimulating activities turn reading into a colourful adventure. The eleven books are vibrant with fun stories and appealing illustrations that encourage visual literacy. The stories and the delightful, humorous illustrations were created by one of the country’s leading children’s writers, Marjorie van Heerden.
The set of Bright Books created for Grade 1 learners form a progressive course, starting with Book 1 (The cat book) all the way through to Book 11 (The chicken book). Each story could be “read” without the words, but each illustration has some words associated with it and those words are also listed at the end of the story. For example, the very first story “A cat in a cap” is followed by 9 “Bright words” (a; cap; in; look; where; and; cat; is; the). The second story “A fat cat” uses the same words and introduces two new ones (fat & fish). Each story is then followed by suggested activities (Bright things to do) which use the same words in fun ways to associate the written word with the object and/or the context it refers to. These are simple introductory steps to reading, taken in such a way that the learner is stimulated and often amused, while constantly developing the basic skills of literacy. Progressively, the eleven books expand the vocabulary or the learner and the complexity of the content. The eleven readers are accompanied by a detailed Teacher’s Guide of 399 pages.
In developing the eleven Grade 1 books, the author first identified and analysed various areas of development in the young child and then wrote a story to address each area. She listed a number of elements in each story suitable for discussions and or practical activities for the learners. Those activities were then formulated by professional educators, listed after each story as Bright things to do and also covered in the Teacher’s Guide.
While the books focus primarily on the development of literacy skills, the subjects chosen for the stories cover a wide range of areas, including counting and basic maths concepts, spatial awareness, (concepts like up, down, in, out, over, under); shapes; opposites; food groups; safety; night and day; naming the body parts; emotions and many more. The stories offer a wealth of delightful illustrations and familiar situations to stimulate and encourage visual literacy and to draw the learner into amusing stories. The situations and characters described and the colourful illustrations are often humorous and this creates an easy, light-hearted learning situation, where the development of reading skills is associated with pleasure. (Marjorie van Heerden regards the development and retention of reading-for-pleasure habits as a fundamental and very important challenge in the new South Africa).