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KEEP BOOKS Kid's Sets Review by Donna Campos

Various Authors
KEEP BOOKS / The Ohio State University
807 Kinnear Road
Columbus, OH 43212

KEEP BOOKS offers seven individual kid's sets, each with 16 KEEP BOOKS to read, a Parent Guide, and two blank KEEP BOOKS in which the child can write his or her own story and add pictures as desired. The entire seven set series may also be purchased together in a handy cardboard storage box with Velcro closure. The seven sets are titled as follows:

  • Set A: Rhymes & Songs (for young children)
  • Set B: Stories to Start Learning to Read (ages 3-5)
  • Set C: Stories & Practicing Letters (ages 3-5)
  • Set D: Stories & Practicing Spelling (ages 5-6)
  • Set E: Easy Stories for Early Readers (ages 5-6)
  • Set F: Stories for Early Readers (ages 6-7)
  • Set G: Stories for Young Readers (ages 7-8)

The readers are small (only 4 x 5 inches) and easily handled. There are line drawings inside for the child to color, and the child can also add drawings to enhance the story. This is a nice touch that truly makes the books special to the individual child so that he or she will want to "keep" them. The blank books are twice the size of the readers so that a child may more easily write and draw. Each Parent's Guide includes instructions specific to that particular set. The instructions are clear, direct, and easy to understand.

Designed by educators, this series is intended to assist parents who are helping their children with reading at home. The target group is young children learning how to read, so these products are perfectly appropriate for homeschoolers.

These books worked well for our 7-year-old son. He liked coloring the pictures after reading each story and then wanted to read them again once he had completed his "improvements." The stories are short and often have a sense of having been written by a young child, as they reference younger siblings, watching TV, going to school, birthdays, or pets. Many of the stories offer opportunities for further discussions about important topics (such as cheating and fairness) or about other subject areas. These discussions won't go as far as a very involved Unit Study, but they certainly add educational value. We capitalized on these discussions by having our son write further on his favorite story in a blank KEEP BOOK. This gave him a frame of reference for both story line and his drawings, which, for a 7-year-old still learning how to read and write, were important guides for this type of early writing. By itself, this series is not going to teach a child to read. However, it certainly supported the work we have already done with our son.

We can offer just a couple of suggestions for possibly improving the product. It would be nice if there were room to fit a small colored pencil package into the storage boxes; that would have come in very handy we were when out and about with them. Also, it might be better if the age-level recommendations were not so prominent on each box. Perhaps the ages could be mentioned in the Parent Guides and purchasing information. That way, older students who are struggling with their reading would not feel embarrassed.

For some families, it may not be financially practical to purchase multiple sets for multiple children. However, you could purchase one entire set and divide the sets among children. As with any books, parents should take the time to review subject matter. Some of the books include references to school, siblings, and adult relationships, but we did not find anything objectionable for our family.

We recommend the addition of KEEP BOOKS to your child's personal library. The stories are short and enjoyable; size and portability make the sets very convenient. And the personalization aspect may be a wonderful incentive for a reluctant reader.

Product review by Donna Campos, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2006