I was really excited to receive the marvellous new September titles in the Maverick Early Readers collection. As a Year 1 teacher, this wonderful set of new titles, ranging from Blue to Turquoise level, were a perfect fit for the range of reading ability in my Year 1 class and my daughter, also in Year 1 this year. They sit within the wider framework of Maverick Early Readers, a comprehensive collection which ranges from Pink band (level 1) right up to White band (level 10). Superb non-fiction titles are gradually being added too. They’re robust little books that will withstand regular classroom usage and look more like early chapter books, giving them a more grown-up feel.
The Early Reader collection would be an asset both in the classroom and the home alike. Whether you’re a teacher looking to replenish your stocks of home readers or diversify your guided reading scheme, or you’re a parent wanting to supplement your child’s reading at home, these books are a great choice. These Early Readers are levelled to the Institute of Education (UK) standard and correspond to the Letters and Sounds phonic phases. Although most of the words in the stories are phonically regular and can be decoded by ‘sounding-out’ the stories flow naturally and are not at all contrived. It saddens me that with such a push towards completely decodable books, children are often barking at print which carries little meaning or substance to practise those all-important comprehension skills.
As a teacher, reading for pleasure is so important to me and I feel it’s essential to offer a broad diet of reading material, even at the very early stages of learning to read. I love that Maverick Publishing have tasked their authors to create a variety of characters and plotlines for children to enjoy. From dancing dads, superhero pets, fantastic farm animals, monsters making mayhem, there is an adventure to suit every interest – no danger of reader boredom developing here! And by the time children reach Orange and Turquoise levels they encounter clear themes, such as friendship, kindness and believing in yourself. Lively illustrations capture children’s interest and devices such as speech bubbles and onomatopoeia encourage expression.
Each of the stories have a handy little quiz at the end which would be really beneficial for parents to check understanding and provide an opportunity for children to practise reading comprehension questions. In the Blue level books, these focus on basic retrieval questions and by Turquoise level, these progress to What, Why and How questions.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s also free audio files that can be downloaded for each of the titles from Pink level to White level. Yes, you heard that correctly – FREE Audio files! Want to listen now? They can be downloaded here
It was a really difficult choice to narrow it down, but having read all of the new September titles shown above, these are our favourites from each band:
Blue Level: Astro Cat
Star is Ella’s pet cat but when Ella is out, Star dons a helmet and a cloak and becomes…Astro Cat! Astro Cat flips the narrative on traditional cat and mouse stories saving little Pip the mouse from a near death experience in the cat milk. With a flick of her tail, Pip is back on dry land but then Turbo Tom appears out of the black hole, otherwise known as…the cat flap! And he has a light gun! (torch) Turbo Tom gives chase, but before he knows what’s hit him (or nipped him!) little Pip comes to rescue her feline friend. All’s well that ends well but wait…Ella is back! Astro Cat removes her superhero disguise and quickly jumps into her cat basket looking like butter wouldn’t melt. Such a purrr-fect little story!
Green level: Can Dad Dance?
Dad’s can be a tad embarrassing at times and this dad is no exception. His clothes are alarming, anything but SWISH! His DIY skills are dangerous – CRUNCH! And his baking skills are so bad, he always messes up the mix- POP! So you think he can dance? You’ll hardly dare to look as Dad jumps on the stage, costume sparkling, belly wobbling. But then, he pulls off some serious body POPPING, SWISHING, SLIDING and CRUNCHING amongst other moves. The crowd go wild but what will happen when dad goes to claim his prize?
Orange level: The Tractor Factor
Scotty the Sheepdog is polishing his red tractor, watching the animals getting ready for the Talent show. Miss Baa Baa (much better than Lady Gaga) is set to steal the show with her singing and the hens are convinced they’ve got The Eggs Factor with their juggling act. The stage is set and the trophy is polished but sneaky fox has his eye on the prize. When the performance is in full swing, he unhooks the trailer the animals are using as a stage so he can steal the cup. It’s up to Scotty and his tractor to race to the rescue. The Tractor Factor gets our Golden Buzzer in the Orange level titles.
Turquoise level: The Barnyard Bake Off
Henrietta is busy doing her chores but her friends Lulu, Sally and Billy don’t want to help. Hard-working Henrietta bakes a wonderful cake and now that the delicious smell fills the farmyard, guess who wants to help her eat it? Just like another Little Red Hen we know so well, Henrietta says no – she’s entering the cake in the Great Barnyard Bake Off. But then disaster strikes…Henrietta slips and her prize cake ends up all over the floor! But her trusty friends manage to salvage the cake and make a new culinary creation: Eat ‘n’ Mess. It really is all about the flavours and after one bite, Chef Ram-See declares it the best cake he’s ever tasted. Henrietta takes the Golden Biscuit and is crowned star baker after all – all thanks to the best friends ever.
Thank you Maverick Books for sending me review copies of your new September Early Reader titles, I’m a big fan of the collection and really excited to read the non-fiction titles too.
You can explore the full range of Maverick Early Readers from Pink to White Level here
Maverick Early Readers can be purchased here
Before you go…a quick heads-up about more more marvellous new titles from Maverick!
The new Maverick Chapter Readers have really caught my eye. Due to be released this November, they cover Lime, Brown and Grey bands. As I’m sure Year 2 and 3 teachers will agree, this is such a tricky stage, as children are not yet ready for longer novels but need something more substantial to build reading stamina. My son moved into Year 3 in September and finding books that provide enough challenge but don’t stretch him too far is not easy! He still very much needs illustrations to maintain his interest so I’m looking forward to finding out more about these.