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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heliz_t
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Re: Repetitive Sentences vs. An Interesting Storyline

Post by heliz_t » 02 Jul 2018, 12:28

I think it depends on the child...it's aimed at a pretty specific age group and reading level. For a child who can recognize single letters and clusters, and is just beginning word recognition, it's perfect! There are enough repeated words that they will be able to recognize them page to page, some activity words they are likely to have seen before, and some new ones they can try to sound out for themselves. Little kids love repetition, so it would also work if you read it aloud to a completely pre-literate kid, and the pictures are colourful and engaging enough that it would work for stimulating an early interest in books and reading, which is really important. Would kids at this stage also enjoy having more complex story lines read to them? Yes, but you can do this as well as, rather than instead of, helping them start to read a book like Toni the Superhero. Would it be boring for an older child higher along the literacy development curve? Yes. But it isn't intended for them, and there are plenty of other books out there to move on to.

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Post by bookowlie » 02 Jul 2018, 13:15

DorcasToo wrote:
01 Jul 2018, 23:49
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.
I agree that the book succeeded based on what the author wanted to achieve - using simple words and sentences that the child could master fairly easily. The visual clues from the pictures also help the child figure out the activity on each page.
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Post by Dael Reader » 02 Jul 2018, 14:28

Plots are more important for step 2 readers than for children just learning how to read. I agree with some of the others who pointed out that a picture book doesn't necessarily have to have a plot. This kind of book is meant to be read with an adult by your side. And though I realize that not all adults have an instinct for this, reading with a child at that age involves asking them questions and talking about each page. Such as, "So Toni has to do to chores. Do you do chores at home? Do you think Batman does chores? I think it's great that he helps out at home even though he's a superhero." This is how you teach children how to engage with a story, and how to express their own thoughts about the story.

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Post by daydreaming reader » 02 Jul 2018, 21:54

I think the book is geared towards persons who are learning to read and write/spell. As such the repetitiveness of the words help in recognizing the combinations of letters that make up words, and the corresponding sounds of the letter combination.

As an adult reading the book, yes it would be less interesting because it has no plot. However, children who are learning to read most likely would not notice. Their attention would most likely be taken up by the pictures, colors, the activities depicted and so on.

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Post by Kay87 » 03 Jul 2018, 19:36

I thought the grammar structure was not suitable for a beginning reader instead Toni can or will should have been used. The use of like made the story too repetitive which in turn made it difficult for the story to have a plot. Simply adding does not like would have improved the story or even adding a question for the child, e.g. Can you run? Just as adults, children are engaged when there is some form of conflict to resolve or a situation they can relate to.

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Post by melissy370 » 03 Jul 2018, 19:54

Considering the age the book is targeted to, I think the simplistic words work. The long sentence structure word bore them. Could there have a variation on the words? Perhaps, but I don't think the repetitiveness hurts the author's intention for the book.

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Post by Charlaigne » 03 Jul 2018, 21:55

It is repetitive, but that might be necessary for a beginning reader to gain confidence.

For an older child, it would be boring and they would likely appreciate a story i.e. plot and structure.

For a young child just learning to read, this book would be fine. I imagine though that they would learn it and then move on to something else so it may not last long.

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Post by ereason » 05 Jul 2018, 03:36

The repetitive sentences reminded me of similar books when I was young - especially "Peter & Jane". ("Peter is running. Jane is running. Peter and Jane are running"). I don't remember them when I was just learning to read, which I suppose is a problem here - does anyone remember whether they liked a book at 3 or 4 years old? Later, at 6 or 7, I found them boring because of their repetition. However, I very impressed with Toni the Superhero and if I had children of that age, I'd definitely have this on the bookshelves.

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Post by Kibetious » 05 Jul 2018, 06:48

I think the lack of a traditional plot makes this book more suitable for kids. It is worth noting that the style of writing is changing and hence kids' books also have changed a bit. The fact that sentences are repeated makes it easy for the kids to memorize the story. It would also be a bit boring to write on one topic alone since children have diverse interests. Hence, writing short sentences on many activities is better.
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Post by kfwilson6 » 05 Jul 2018, 21:14

Kay87 wrote:
03 Jul 2018, 19:36
I thought the grammar structure was not suitable for a beginning reader instead Toni can or will should have been used. The use of like made the story too repetitive which in turn made it difficult for the story to have a plot. Simply adding does not like would have improved the story or even adding a question for the child, e.g. Can you run? Just as adults, children are engaged when there is some form of conflict to resolve or a situation they can relate to.
I think the addition of questions is a great idea. Even if the "i like " didn't change, the questions could add some variety. They can be asked "can you" as well as "do you like to," "How often do you," even "what's your favorite song to sing." The kids could read the repetitive sentences while the parents take over with the questions.

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Post by prinjeh18 » 07 Jul 2018, 02:22

I guess the author wanted the children to remember those repetitive words at their own age level.

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Post by Britty01 » 07 Jul 2018, 18:54

holsam_87 wrote:
01 Jul 2018, 17:40
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.
Well put. The target audience is 0 - 4 years, so I felt it was appropriate for that age group.

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Post by Hannahkate3 » 07 Jul 2018, 18:59

The repetitive sentences were definitely a problem for me because I feel like even kids first learning how to read need to know that not every sentence can be the same. I didn't like the lack of plot either. I know there will be add-on books, but I wish Toni would have been better explained in this first book. The story just jumped right into all the things Toni does without a real character introduction.

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Post by Dabuddhababe » 07 Jul 2018, 20:57

This is a good question, but I think it would depend on the kid and the age. The younger they are the more they will focus on the pictures. If the child is slightly older he or she might be more interested in the story, and this could bore them a little. Of course, at that point, it could be used as a practice reading book.

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Post by LV2R » 07 Jul 2018, 21:37

I think the repetitive simple sentences work in this book are ok because the illustrations are so big and colorful. I do think parts of a story are missing because I wonder who he is dancing with and who is he helping. Are they his sister or mom? We assume they are a family member. This format reminds me of teaching English to students learning a second language or in this case, a young reader learning to read.

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