So Doll has just completed Peter and Jane book 8A, now moving on to 9A. Yes the supposedly dry and boring Perer and Jane books that are sold at Popular book shops. I've to say, I'm pretty surprise myself that she managed to plough through each and every page and books from 2a all the way to 8A.
Peter and Jane books can be very dull for preschoolers. Quite evidently, many parents bought the entire series wanting and hoping their kids will learn to read but failed in doing so. I would think the primary reason is that the content in this series can come across as uninteresting as oppose to Julia Doanladson, Dr Seuss , Eric Carle etc books. I'm quite certain if I had tried this series on my son, it would not have succeeded. He would have hated the repetitive words and unappealing storyline.
Yet, it's precisely the repetitive page after page that got my Doll on a roll to reading. Truth be told, I think reading this series enabled her to read comfortably now. She feels so empowered by her new found skill that she has started to pick up books and read aloud to herself word for word without my assistance. She can now read Amber Brown series mostly on her own. No, she doesn't attend any phonics or reading classes by the way. I owe it all to Peter and Jane. Thanks kids!
She started with book 2A, skipping 1A because it was too easy for her then. I only bought one book at a time as I was quite prepared that she would give it up by 4-5A. But she took me by surprise by religiously reading the books, one page a day. So I journey on with her and got just one more book which begets another 'just one more book' and another 'just one more' until now.
But before you rush out of the door to get the series, know this first. Peter and Jane series is not suited for every kid. As I mentioned most kids find it rather flat. And when the content is unattractive to them, it is likely they will put up a wall on your attempts to get them to to read the books. One probably needs to get hold of more vibrant reading resources instead.
It's not easy to tell if your kids would like Peter and Jane series. Between my kids, I would have thought that Doll would have a stronger resistance to it. Her personality is that of an extrovert, she needs loud, colorful and attractive things to hold her attention. Peter and Jane series would have been the last of my expectations to teach her how to read. But look now, I was utterly wrong. On the hindsight, my son would have abhor it because he hates to learn by repetition.
So I am incline to think children who hates to learn by repetition will not like the series. If I've to point a finger to it. I think Doll took it very well because it systemacally taught her to read.
If you are not in the know, Peter and Jane books are written in such a way that (1-3, depending on the level) new words would be introduced in each page. And each new word is peppered all over the books repeatedly, making it harder for the kids to forget the words. This slowly gives the child confidence in reading. I suppose with each page 'conquered' Doll felt more at ease in reading. With that confidence, it propelled her to read other books which gave her greater confidence knowing that she could actually read any book!
Also I think Doll progressed relatively fast because she reads it aloud everyday. The more regularly she sees the words, the more she remembers them effortlessly.
So if you're itching to try it, I suggest that you buy one book at a time to test the waters first. It may seem more economical to buy the entire set but you would lose more if your child decides she won't have any of the books. Instead of buying brand new ones, get second hand books. You can easily find Peter and Jane books at the second hand book stores at Bras Basah. It cost only $1 per book. The books condition aren't too shabby either. So what's there to consider? I've been going there to buy the books, one at a time, and I've to say I barely have any difficulty finding the levels I want.
If Peter and Jane series don't work for you then keep on hunting. There are many resources out there that are equally effective. Some may learn better the phonics way. It's more important to find one that fits your child. For some kids, like my son, you don't even need any resources or tuition. You just need to read aloud to them everday and they will naturally pick up from there. Don't give up, keep on swimming, I mean finding!