Saturday 8 November 2014

Star Struck by Cathy West – Challenged Reader’s – Review

To show our support for National Dyslexia Awareness week 2014, we have spent the week reviewing books written and designed especially for reluctant readers. Many of these are books which use the High-Low model: High interest age, with a lower reading age, so children who have issues reading can enjoy stories that are written for their interest age, but are accessible, as they are easier to read than other books written for the same age group.

Today we bring you a review for a series of books produced by Ransom, which use the High-Low method; the Star Struck series which are written for fourteen year old girls with a reading age of eight. The series and produced on themes that should interest teenage girls as they are all about performing arts. Each book is about a different type of performing art; ‘Star Singer’, ‘Street Theatre, ’Bollywood’ etc.

The Star Struck series written by Cathy West (who is actually two people; Anita Loughrey and Steve Rickard), are glossy and bright, and produced in a format to encourage girls to read, by splitting the book into sections, with a fact section, and a narrative based fiction section. The fact section, written by series editor Steve Rickard, is formatted with lots of bright colourful photographic images, and delivers the facts in bite-sized digestible chunks. This clever juxtaposition of imagery and facts, is inviting to challenged readers as it is not text heavy. The small nougats of facts are easier to process as they don’t need to be extracted from long passages of text.

The fiction section, which is at the back of the book, is written by Anita Loughrey, [who we are interviewing about her involvement with Star Struck; press here to read]. The story is written to reflect the subject matter of the book, and is accompanied by large full colour illustrations. The stories are written with vocabulary which is easy to read, and formatted so that the reader can read either the bulk of the text, or use the illustrations and speech bubbles within the pictures to deliver the story.

The thought and planning that have gone into the Star Struck series, really shines through, as their specially designed format is developed to make the reading experience easier and more enjoyable plus giving readers a choice of how to read the text.

When researching the series in preparation to write this post, I spoke to the Buckinghamshire Library service, to find that the Star Struck series is popular on the library bus, with many of the titles being lent to pupils at school they visit. This is testament to the quality of the design, and careful consideration of content.

The Star Struck series is a great example of the resources that are now being developed especially for challenged readers.

We have some Star Struck books to give away! Just tweet #StarStruck to @BookshelfSpace or e-mail us with Star Struck in the subject bar.

Good Luck!

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