Yesterday I alluded that publishers had gotten quite smart about the dual reader phenomenon. The best example is Treasure Bay’s “We Both Read” series ($4.99). The books, divided into reading levels (K, K-1, 1, 1-2, 2, and 3), are written for two readers. Unlike yesterday’s recommendations — You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You — these books contain a clear hierarchy. The left page is meant for an advanced reader and often contains one or two sentences in small type-face. The right page is for emerging readers and contains one word or the final few words in large print of the adult reader’s story, giving the emerging reader a chance to ‘finish’ the sentence. The higher levels contain one or two complete sentences for the new reader.
Overall, I think this is a great idea and I recommend this series a lot. It allows for physical closeness as the adult and child are reading from one book, and it gives children an opportunity to participate in the reading experience, while still having the luxury of listening. The series also contains a range of fiction and non-fiction. My problem with the series is that the illustrations aren’t that great and the stories themselves seem a bit boring. Why even bother recommending them? Well, see the first part of this paragraph. The reading experiences that these books produce, for me, trump their quality. And it’s not to say that they are *that* bad, but let’s face it, there are far better books out there for young readers.