Posted on

Let’s Talk Just Right Readers

 Books for primary readers are categorized into levels of difficulty—Just Right Readers.

Some of these books are categorized by grade level (GRL), some  by a developmental readiness assessment (DRA), and others still are categorized by a Lexile measure. The purpose of these readers is to provide opportunities for children to read as they are mastering the patterns of phonics.

Hatchling Volume 1 for kindergarten and Hatchling Volume 2 for 1st grade, systematically introduce students to phonics for reading and writing. In the Teacher Helps that is tied to both units, we offer information and strategies including this tidbit at the top of page 9:

“Phonics is a method of teaching students to read and write by helping them HEAR.”


In the English language, there are 44 sounds that make up every single spoken word.  These sound bites are called phonemes. The 26 letters of the alphabet are combined in various ways to replicate the sounds we hear. These are called graphemes. There are around 250 graphemes to write the 44 phonemes! Phenomenal, right? This is the heart of phonics.

During kindergarten and 1st grade, students using our Hatchling curriculum are introduced to over 150 of these graphemes setting them firmly on their way to reading and writing well. As students are introduced to phonics, it is important to practice both reading and writing. Early on, during kindergarten, students will have limited skills. At first, once the consonant and short vowel sounds are mastered, they will be able to read and write “can” or “fun” or “let” with ease. However, they might write “pepl” for “people” because those are the sounds they have mastered. As more complex graphemes are introduced (consonant blends, digraphs, long vowel patterns and so on), the reading and writing lexicon increases.

This is where Just Right Readers enter the scene.

Amelia Bedelia brought delight to my childhood. I mean, she took every figure of speech and turned it upside down, literally! She made me laugh out loud! “Dress the chicken,” seemed an odd task to Amelia Bedelia. But she obediently got on with the task and suddenly the chicken was dressed in overalls! Once upon a time, back in my day, this series of stories was not a Just Right Reader, but rather a wonderful series of picture books. The first twelve books in the series are written by Peggy Parish. After her death, nephew Herman Parish, continued the series. Since 2009, the stories have been adapted for part of the I Can Read series published by Harper Kids.

Just Right Readers are just right for primary readers. So fill a basket with wonderful stories for your Kindergartener, 1st, or 2nd grader. I promise Amelia Bedelia will make them chuckle! I promise she will stand the test of time.