Read On - Unsolved Mysteries by Keith West

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Read On - Unsolved Mysteries by Keith West

Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: A very engaging, easy-to-read, non-fiction book for reluctant readers. Unsolved Mysteries is just as much fun for sceptics as for believers and suitable for a wide range of ages.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 48 Date: November 2012
Publisher: Collins Educational
ISBN: 978-0007488902

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Collins Read On books are not specifically listed as a dyslexia friendly line of books. Instead, these are what is known as hi-lo books. Book developed to motivate and engage older readers, while still being accessible to readers who are reading far below grade level. I would estimate the reading level of this book to be roughly age eight, but the subject matter is apt to appeal to children much older, or even adults. Although not designed especially for children with dyslexia like the famous Barrington Stoke range, this does have several features to make this book more appropriate to children with dyslexia than the average children's book. With the exception of a few small picture captions, this is printed in black ink with a large standard font. The print is double spaced, with short paragraphs and chapters giving the reader plenty of breaks. The paper is thick enough that print and pictures from the other side will not show through. This combined with the easy to read text will help to build a child's confidence.

There are however a few issues parents should be aware of if buying this for a child with dyslexia as opposed to just a reluctant reader. The first is that this is printed on a very slightly glossy paper. This allows for far better illustrations, which do engage children and keep them reading, but it can also serve as a distraction for a child. There are also a couple of instances where the text runs into the photograph, also an issue for children with dyslexia. To date, Barrington Stoke is the only series I have found that follows the guidelines for dyslexia friendly text to the letter. I do feel a good variety of reading material is essential to keep children reading, and I feel that the very interesting subject matter and photographic illustration makes this book worthy of consideration, despite the issues with print.

This book is a collection of stories, and they are all quite good if you enjoy stories of the unexplained. Personally , I am very much the sceptic but I found one story very interesting. The story is called the Man Who Stepped Into Time. It revolves around a man who went missing without a trace in 1876. Nothing more was heard of him for 75 years, then the police were called to the body of a man who had been struck by a car. He was dressed in clothing one would have expected to find 75 years before, and without ID. All he had on him were a few coins from 1876, a bill for the keep of a horse and carriage, and a calling card with the missing man's name. Of course his own wife, and even his child were now dead, but his son's widow identified the police photo as that of her father in law, whom she had never met but seen family photos of. Proof of the supernatural? No - but interesting nonetheless.

This is one of my son's very favourite books, and as such it has been read several times. His favourite is the section on the Bermuda Triangle. He also really enjoyed the stories of the Mary Celeste and Houdini. The story of the Loch Ness Monster hasn't been as much fun for him since he learned the loch was frozen solid in the ice age, meaning nothing could have survived from prehistoric times. This book does not mention that fact. This also has stories of UFOs, a haunted lighthouse and bigfoot. The book is well illustrated with a picture on every page. The type of illustration varies from story to story. The majority of the illustrations are photographs, but in the case of the Mary Celeste, paintings are used. Many of the photos are black and white, as it to be expected from the time period in question. Most are quite good, but one of the Loch Ness monster is terrible. Of course there aren't any brilliant, clear shots of this creature. The story of Houdini uses both photographs and posters for his shows.

This book is intended for use in schools. It has a very good question and answer section at the back. It does help teach parts of speech such as noun, verb and adjective. It asks children to examine the evidence and to come to their own conclusions. Of course the evidence here is all slanted a wee bit; you don't read any arguments against these theories, but we had a great time looking up facts and coming up with our own. There are a few spelling words and an exercise in persuasion as well.

I would certainly recommend this book for reluctant readers or those struggling with reading. I think it is brilliant for home education as well. I would recommend this for children ages 8+. Although intended for reluctant readers, I feel this is an excellent book for young readers of any reading ability, as well as being an exceptional book for older children who need a little extra help with literacy.

If this book appeals then you might also like to look at:

Ghost Stadium by Tom Palmer

Haunted by Susan Cooper, Joseph Delaney, Berlie Doherty, Jamila Gavin, Matt Haig, Robin Jarvis, Derek Landy, Sam Llewellyn, Mal Peet, Philip Reeve and Eleanor Updale

Buy Read On - Unsolved Mysteries by Keith West at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Read On - Unsolved Mysteries by Keith West at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Read On - Unsolved Mysteries by Keith West at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Read On - Unsolved Mysteries by Keith West at Amazon.com.


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