“Let me give you an idea of how widespread the misunderstanding is about the difference between listening [level] and reading level, as well as the magic that can occur when they are understood. About twenty years ago I was doing an all-day seminar in a blue-collar community on the Jersey Shore. At lunch, a young teacher named Melissa Olans Antinoff introduced herself and said, ‘You’d love my kindergarten class!’ She explained that she read one hundred picture books a year to the class, but also read ten to twelve chapter books...When the seminar resumed after lunch, I asked how many kindergarten teachers were in that room and learned there were eight. Further investigation showed that Antinoff was the only one who read chapter books to her class. Which of these eight classes will be better prepared for first grade: the ones who heard 150 four-minute picture books, or the one that heard one hundred picture books along with a dozen novels? Which class will have the longer attention spans at the end of the year and larger vocabularies, and exercise more complex thinking?” --Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook,(7th edition, Penguin, 2013), p. 59.
II. READ-ALOUD RECORD (2013): THE BEAST FABLES AND INTRODUCTORY AESOP
“To begin with, [three] is a suitable time to introduce the first fairy stories. The three-year-old seems prepared to accept the ‘other-world’ quality of these earliest tales (the ‘Beast Fables’ they have been called, appropriately). I would suggest for a start The Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, The Gingerbread Man (hardly a beast, but of the same ilk), The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Little Red Hen. These have in common features which render them suitable for the child whose contact with stories has so far been confined to simple, progressive narratives and straightforward cause-and-effect tales...It is important to note the difference between these stories and the more sophisticated tales, such as Jack and the Beanstalk and Snow White. The ‘Beast Fables’ help children to move into an imaginary world which is quite unlike their own, but whose qualities are universal. The characters are often in peril, but the child who comes to know that they will emerge unharmed in the end if they are courageous and wise. The rules are rigid; the first two Little Pigs were eaten because they were foolish, the Gingerbread Man because he was, after all, a biscuit, and biscuits are meant to be eaten.” --Dorothy Butler, Babies Need Books: Sharing the Joy of Books with Children from Birth to Six, (Heinemann, 1998), Chapter Five: When I was Three, I was hardly me, p. 99.