CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 9 . . . .January 7, 2005
These two additions in the "Kids Can Learn with Franklin" workbook series feature the popular storybook and TV series character, Franklin the turtle. Both books are designed to provide practice in letter formation for preschool to kindergarten children. The information entitled "About this book" inside the front cover explains the prerequisite skills that a child needs to demonstrate before using each workbook. This same section provides suggestions for guided instruction by the parent or adult. The first title, Ready for Printing, provides activity pages that focus on fine motor control using a pencil or crayon that lead up to letter formation. The workbook Printing includes practice pages for upper and lower case letters. The skills being targeted are listed at the bottom of each page. The illustrations are based on the popular characters created by Brenda Clark. Each book also contains a set of four collector cards featuring characters from the Franklin storybooks. On the last page is a Certificate of Achievement that can be photocopied, filled in and presented to each child who has completed the activities.
The purpose of a series of workbooks based on a popular storybook character is questionable. If these books are most effectively used with adult supervision, and, if the method of instruction is important for the proper formation of each letter, how are these books intended to be used? Does the inclusion of black and white illustrations of popular Franklin characters add interest to learning how to print? In the workbook, once a child has practised two rows of a letter, s/he moves on to the next. Is sufficient opportunity for practice provided? How should a child be paced in completing the workbook? These questions need to be considered before purchasing these workbooks. If the key to the development of proper printing skills is dependent on adult guidance, a storybook character workbook is likely not essential.
Janice Foster is a Middle Years teacher in Pembina Trails School Division in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.