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Early Reader Noah Text Set: Zack Book One: In the Woods (Rimes and Long Vowels) and Zack Book Two: A World of Their Own (Rimes and Long Vowels) Review by Amy Butler

Zack Book One: In the Woods (Just Rimes) and Zack Book Two: A World of Their Own (Just Rimes)
By Sarah K. Blodgett
Noah Text
PO Box 471
Old Mystic, CT 06372-0471
(860) 334-3058

Learning to read is this powerful gift that too often gets tainted by learning struggles and disengaging materials.  The Zack stories from Noah Text are designed to bridge the gap for new readers in order to teach critical word patterns with fun and intriguing stories that use nature, imagination, and warm relationships.  The English language is known to be unpredictable and irregular and these stories are intended to set out visible and consistent patterns to ensure a more efficient learning process.  

There are two different versions available of these books, though the price of $7.99 per book is the same.  One version, Rimes Only, highlights the rimes in bold and the other version, Rimes and Long Vowels, highlights the rimes in bold and underlines the long vowel sounds in the words throughout the stories. The critical word patterns taught, known as rimes, are the letters starting with the vowel and going to the end of the syllable like 'at' in rat and 'ate' in rate.  The quicker these rimes, or patterns, can be noticed by the new reader, the further their confidence and reading skills will increase.  These soft cover books are thin and comfortable in hand, but filled with thick, quality paper that showcases the illustrations on every other page well.  

I used these books with my 6 year old son who was already reading, but not very quickly.  The cover and illustrations caught his eye right away and he finished reading them by the next day.  He enjoyed them and had no trouble with them at all.  With outdoor escapades being a fading pastime in some neighborhoods, the content of natural adventure and imagination is a very appealing aspect of this author's work and really hit the mark with my son's conquering spirit.  

Based on our experience, I would recommend using them with much newer readers or readers with significant troubles for optimum benefit in regards to reading skills.  The patterns these books work with did not turn out to be something my son battled with anymore, but a brand new reader or a struggling reader would be a much better fit.  Ideally, they would have been a good asset at the onset of his learning to read.  Still, he enjoyed the illustrations and the stories so much that he asked for more!  He was excited to know there are more books at higher levels.  As his siblings begin the process too, I will be glad to have these books in our library.

-Product review by Amy Butler, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2017