School Zone’s ‘Start to Read!’ Series Makes Learning to Read Easy


Learning to read and developing a love of books, whether traditional or digital, are two treasured assets for lifelong learning. That’s why School Zone, the leading publisher of quality children’s educational materials, has announced the launch of their Start to Read! series in packaged sets that include story book, comprehension book and read-along CD.

The sets comprise 15 creative, colorful readers (three reading levels, with five readers each), thoughtfully designed to help children learn to read, with captivating stories told through rhyme, rhythm, and repetition. Plus, a three-step (Listen, Read and Review) reading program, supports parents in guiding their children’s early reading journey for maximum achievement. On the package CD, each story has one track dedicated to uninterrupted reading and one track featuring word-for-word narration and turn-the-page signals to help children follow along in the companion story book.

Developing early reading skills remains one of the wisest investments parents can make in their child’s success in school. In 2007 the University of California released a report by state, on the percentage of children who are read to daily by their parents and the implications for school performance. In summarizing key findings, a press release noted that “For children, early exposure to books—including being read to aloud each day—is critical for long-term academic success.”

The School Zone Start to Read! series was developed by company co-founder and long-time educator James Hoffman, Ed.D., based on his book, The Right Stuff to Teach Your Child to Read. First published in the early ‘80s, it included developmental activities, fun games, lessons and expert advice to begin children on the road to reading. Hoffman, a professor of education, directed teacher training programs at several universities in the Midwest. He also wrote eight books on educational issues and co-authored an influential study of urban education. His lifelong research and experience led to the development of The Right Stuff to Teach Your Child to Read, and its precepts, principles and practices remain not merely relevant but beautifully timeless in our digital age.

Also, because the ability to understand the meaning of what has been read is critical to school success and overall learning, each Start to Read! collection comes with a comprehension book that has activities to test the understanding of each story. The series makes it easy for children to learn to read at a relaxed and enjoyable pace and easy for parents to help them.In addition to the three-level, multi-part packages, Start to Read! titles are also now available for iBooks, Kindle and Nook. One of the first iBooks to become available was Jog, Frog, Jog by Barbara Gregorich, an entertaining story about a jogging frog chased by a dog. This Level 1 reader uses one-syllable rhyming words to introduce and reinforce important concepts."We have adapted our 'Start to Read! Series' for the digital age to offer beginning readers an exciting new platform for learning early reading skills," says Jonathan Hoffman, School Zone's President and CEO. "We chose to make 'Jog, Frog, Jog' available first because of its popularity. Plus, colorful characters and an active, inventive storyline make it a natural for adaptation."As an e-book, the stories can be read by parent and child together, or can be explored independently by busy kids on the go. The Start to Read! series includes over 40 readers, which will continue to be made available on iBooks, Kindle and Nook throughout 2011.

School Zone Publishing Company is a leading provider of educational products for preschoolers through sixth graders. Since 1979, this family-run, Midwestern-based company has sold over 315 million educational software programs, workbooks, flash cards and games for children. Trusted by teachers and parents, School Zone leads the industry in quality content at affordable prices. For more information on all School Zone products, please visit www.schoolzone.com.

Author: Heather Preston. 3-14-11