CITY KIDS
What is reading?
Reading involves getting meaning from print. Reading is not just word
naming. The beginning reader must see that the purpose of reading is to get
meaning in the same way a competent reader does.
Why City Kids? Lorraine Wilson writes……
City Kids were conceived as a result of two key influences in my life. The first was the
developing realisation that most early reading materials took no account of the nature of
the reading process. The second was the five years I spent teaching in a large inner suburban
primary schools.
City Kids are about the every-day experiences of the children with whom I worked. Those
experiences included having a meat pie for lunch, bubble gum, the dog in the school yard
and having injections. The children in City Kids are real. Sometimes they fight and sometimes
they cry for example when they lose their bus fare or hot dog money. As well they share
many pleasures at school like watching chickens hatch and licking the mixing bowl after
cooking with the teacher.
When I had written the first drafts I trialled them with the children. I listened
to their comments about the contents and made alterations accordingly. I
also noted the miscues made by the children in their oral reading. When
the same miscue was made by many children I rewrote the text to
include the miscue so that the text came as close as possible to the
children’s oral language.
City Kids books are not meant to be a reading program. They are one kind of book which,
together with many other kinds, should make up children’s reading programs. They feature
both Australian and migrant children who live in the inner city areas. They show why these
children are alike as well as different. The use the natural language of children so that the
reader feels comfortable with the text. City Kids also attempts to raise the self-concept of
children as well as endeavouring to make reading fun and meaningful.
Remember: reading should be seen by children to be enjoyable. Attitudes to reading are
catching. The teacher or parent should pass on their enjoyment of reading by talking,
laughing and crying about books with children.
How to use City Kids
City Kids do not form a reading scheme. They do not
need to be used in any systematic way.
City Kids are not first reading materials. Readers will come to them when they have some
ideas about how stories work, print concepts, etc.
City Kids should be used with picture books, nursery rhymes etc. as well as lots of
environmental reading materials labels, notices, etc..
City Kids can be read aloud.
Non-reading children can browse through the books and make up their own stories.
Early independent children will be able to read the books for themselves. Always let them
choose their book.
If the child has a tablet let them take the story home on the tablet.
The books are ideal for EAL classes.
When a child reads to you….
Praise their efforts
Don’t force them to complete a book if they are
labouring through the text or find the text
uninteresting
Where a child wants to read a book but cannot, read
it to them.
Share idea and reactions to the book with the child.
If the child comes to word they do not know encourage them to choose a word that makes
sense in the context of the story. Accept any word the child suggests remember reading is
about making meaning.
City Kids may be
An experience in themselves.
The stimulus to a series of related activities.
A follow up activity after related classroom experience.