I teach fourth grade, but only about 1/4 of my kids are reading at grade level. Another quarter of them are reading about a year below grade level, and the rest are two years or more below. Lots of them have not yet found their "reading legs."
While I'm a firm believer in explicit instruction, I also believe that kids get better at reading by reading. A lot. I'm always on the lookout for chapter books and series that will lure kids into my world of words. Last week I found a new series.
The VAMPIRE SCHOOL series, by British author and illustrator, Peter Bentley and Chris Harrison, currently has two books. They are written at about a second grade reading level, but the subject, a vampire school, is appealing to fourth graders- the books have been making the rounds since I took them into school last Monday. The books are long enough to classify as chapter books, but the chapters are short, and there are lots of great black line illustrations to support developing readers.
The books take place at St. Oorlok Academy. Everyone knows that vampires are nocturnal, so Lee's mom wakes him up at 8 every night, so he can get to school on time. At school, Lee, and his friends, Billy and Bella, learn vampire skills, such as how to turn into bats and how to fly. They also play on a casketball team, where Lee must rely on his bat friends to beat a cheating Werewolf on the other team.
In the second book, GHOUL TRIP, the kids from Saint Oorlok's go on a field trip to a fair. At the fair, Lee, Billy, and Bella encounter a dishonest ferris wheel operator, who leads them on the trail to capture some dishonest thieves who have been breaking into schools.
This is a series kids are going to love.
Review copies provided by publisher