Why Reading Steps®?
The color coded system that is implemented on the back of SRP books has been developing as long as the books themselves.
The system needs to accomplish a number of things:
There is one additional challenge that I felt needed to be implemented in the building of a reading system.
The terms (reading) levels, or even (reading) ages, promote a sense of competition and pressure for the reader. You see, points 1-4 above are for the adult’s use. However, the reader is very perceptive to the systems. It effects them in the same way that advertisements on TV and online effect their idea of the image of an ideal man and woman. The Ideal Man: a tall incredibly muscular, athletic, brilliant individual with hair like a prince. The Ideal Woman, tall, slender, with the prefect balance of femininity and intellect, and physique like a goddess.
Reading levels create a false image to live up to as well. Something I like to call The Ideal Reader.
Consider the classroom environment where one student is on a beginning reading level, and in the same classroom, their friend is on an advanced level for older age groups. Those color indications, even at a young age, become an element of superiority, competition, and build insecurities with learning to read. The child on the beginning reading level may conclude:
Levels and age systems may be wonderful for the adult, but they can act as a put down for the reader.
Learning is about comfort and confidence. If a kid feels that they are having difficulties learning to read, it will become an even greater learning challenge for them to overcome because lack of self confidence. Levels and ages set unrealistic cookie cutter expectations for our young leaners.
Instead, we should be building confidence around the book itself and the positive experiences they can create!
Books are like ice cream: everyone likes a different flavor and eats at a different speed. Just like eating ice cream, reading is not a matter of competition or superiority, but of natural likes and dislikes. I may love a good mystery, and you may love non fiction nature magazines.
We need to help readers discover the style of reading they like, discover a reading environment or scenario that is right for them...not what is necessarily right for the rest of the class.
Why haven’t book companies made this change already?
The answer to this is pretty simple:
The elements chosen on the cover of the book are for the buyer not the reader.
The book itself is not purchased by a child. It is purchased by an adult either through a school, a bookstore, library, or just for home use. Other companies do intend levels and age groups to be hurtful, just a matter of organization.
This is why Reading Steps® were developed!
For more on Reading Steps® please refer to the Reading Step® page at StudioRADishPress.com.
Note from SRP:
Here is to a world of thinking a little bit different. A world of imagination, innovation, encouragement, intelligence, and creativity! Let's get learning!