Repetitive Sentences vs. An Interesting Storyline

Use this forum to discuss the July 2018 Book of the Month "Toni the Superhero" by R.D. Base
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Repetitive Sentences vs. An Interesting Storyline

Post by bookowlie »

Having simple repetitive sentences in a children's book helps kids learn to read. However, it makes the story less interesting because there is either a weak plot or no plot at all. In this case, there wasn't even steps in the plot such as a character baking a cake from beginning to end. Instead, there were just a different activity shown on each page. Would the lack of a traditional plot make a child less interested or would the child love the book even more because they could master the words quicker and gain confidence?
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Post by AmySmiles »

I could see how it would go both ways. I think that if the pictures are interesting enough the children will want to pick it up again and again, but I don't see them focusing on the words in this case. I've often picked up a book with a child and have just asked them about what they see, not even really reading the words. I get that this book is meant to help children read, but I think that it could be done in a manner where there is a story line that goes with it. I think children would love it though as most children love when they figure something out. When they can start to recognize words that is exciting. And for a book lover like me I get excited for them.
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Post by Bianka Walter »

This was my biggest problem with this story. I don't think it needs to be one or the other. Especially if there are follow-on books. There could have been a bit more depth to the story, while keeping the sentences simple enough to read and understand.
If Dick and Jane could do it, I'm sure Toni can too.
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Post by gen_g »

I think that for children, it would help to reinforce sentence structure, but I can definitely see how older readers might be put off by it, as there is no sense of "freshness" to the book. It would be great to see how Base takes on the writing style in future books.

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Post by ZenaLei7 »

I don't think having plots in a children's book, especially one that is a picture book, is important at all since the main purpose of a children's book is for kids to learn how to read. I think kids would enjoy reading books that are colorful and simple to read.
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Post by Katherine Smith »

In children's books, there isn't much of a plot because it is about mastering reading skills. I think that the repetitive sentences allow children to gain more words in their vocabulary to use in conversations. The repetitive phrases remind of Dr. Seuss books and how much I enjoyed them as a child.
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Post by palilogy »

I thought it was too repetitive - but I'm not a child.
I can imagine myself reading it years and years ago - but that would be guess work.
I just think it could have been a bit more interesting.

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Post by holsam_87 »

This book is geared more towards emergent readers so the repetitive sentences work best. Kids could also guess what is happening based on the pictures. I also noticed that a lot of the words were simple with the cvc form which refers to consonant, vowel, and consonant. Using those words reinforces sight words for beginning readers.
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Post by bclayton13 »

I think the repetition would make it work best for beginner readers. If they get part of a sentence, they can get part of the rest of the sentences in the book too, and I think that really helps them gain confidence. I do wish there was a bit more plot, though, but it works for what it is.

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Post by FictionLover »

I think the repetition is needed in a child's primer, but in my opinion, "to like" is not a strong enough verb to carry a whole book.

Children learn by hearing. Before they can read themselves they are listening and understanding. I see no reason that "I like" should be the sole focus of a reader.

I also think it would open up more dialog between parent/teacher and child if the verbs were varied. If you were to talk to your child about the book, the way it stands I could imagine a lot of questions based on what the child or Toni likes. For example: "Toni likes to jump, do you like to jump?" What happens when the answer is 'no'? End of conversation.

But if the sentence was, "Toni jumps." You could ask more questions: "Do you jump?" "How high can you jump?" etc. . . , thereby teaching your child to think. All without a plot.
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Post by kfwilson6 »

I liked the simplicity of it. I think the target audience is very young and as long as the book isn't long, they aren't looking for a storyline. I think they will be most drawn to the pictures. I agree with others who have said the repetition will help them build confidence. Children will only have a few words to learn from this book and won't be so overwhelmed as they would if each page had sentences with a completely different set of words.

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Post by DorcasToo »

The traditional storyline isn't as effective as this repetitive style. A child will easily relate to a word they have seen repeatedly. Enhancing their mastery and understanding. I think this is what the author intended to achieve.
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Post by Mjgarrison »

As a preschool teacher I have noticed that a young child would rather read a book with repetitive text and coinciding visual cues because it allows them to actually read a book before they have all of the skills to otherwise do so. A book that is more plot based is fun for them to have someone read to them, but most of the time until they are 5 or 6 years of age they won’t to be able to read them.

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Post by bb587 »

I think we could have used some words like love, not, can, etc... "Toni does not like..." would keep with the repetition while giving a child something more interesting to discover.

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Post by chupke07 »

For children in the audience age range an interesting story line will likely not do much. My nephew who is learning to read is more interested in the pictures than the story. Meaning, if the pictures are interesting and the sentence describes the picture he is all about reading that sentence with little concern for what is going to happen next.

For an older audience that can already read a storyline is extremely important.

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