Early Reader Success: Billy and Blaze

Billy and BlazeBilly And BlazeBilly And Blaze by C. W. Anderson by C. W. Anderson

A classic early reader, and for good reason – it’s a great choice for that stage (especially if your early reader likes animals). Every two-page spread has an illustration on one side, and limited text on the other, so it’s helpful for kids like mine who need lots of white space or else they’re discouraged.

The book is about 50 pages (it’s wandered off or I’d double-check it) but all the illustrations make it very readable in two sessions. A more motivated reader could easily tackle it all in one reading session, but my reader did it in two. He’s not as motivated as some of his friends and relatives. 🙂

He was able to sound out every word, and the only one he had trouble with was “bridle” – pronouncing it “briddle” If he were at all familiar with equine equipment I think he’d have recognized his mistake and corrected it himself, but I’m kind of glad he didn’t know it as it led to a discussion on homonyms with him when I told him the correct pronunciation. He was then confused, because wasn’t “bridal” something to do with weddings? We’d just been to his second cousin’s wedding the weekend before and apparently he’d heard the term, or that’s my guess anyway.

Which makes me wonder if initially he remembered the “pickle” syllable word rule, but intentionally didn’t follow it thinking “this is a story about horses, there is nothing about a wedding here!” No matter if he was thinking that or not, I liked the opening it gave for that extra discussion on the weirdness that is English at times.

On a plotting note, he enjoyed the story, and saw the pictures for additional Billy & Blaze titles that are available. He’s requested two of them – and I got him one of those requests (Blaze and ThunderboltBlaze and Thunderbolt by C. W. Anderson) so he clearly liked the story enough to want more of it. Yay!

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  1. Cool. Sounds cute. What’s the “pickle” syllable word rule?

    • It’s named that because the word “pickle” is an example of it. It’s when a word ends with a consonant followed by l-e. (bubble, middle, etc.). When a word ends in a Pickle syllable, you count back three letters to divide it into syllables (i.e, the consonant + l + e becomes the final syllable.)

      Makes it easy to then see what the previous syllable is, and how to decode it.

      Source: All About Reading Level 3, because I’d never heard of it before then. 🙂

      • Wow. Interesting. I’m sure I’ll learn all kinds of techniques like this once my son starts learning how to read at school. So far he’s just done sight words and simple phonics. 🙂

        • *I’ve* learned several phonics rules related to spelling especially from this program. I would have been a much better speller if I’d learned this way, instead of the “here’s a list of words” method my school used.

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