Four sets of Superstar Readers take children from reading short-vowel words through words such as bright, relieved, achieve, and bridge. These readers can be used up through at least second grade.
Twenty readers in each of the four sets take children very gradually through phonetic concepts. The sets are titled:
Book Set 1 – Short Vowel Books
Book Set 2 – Long Vowel Books
Book Set 3 – Consonants Plus Books
Book Set 4 – Vowels and More Books
In the first set, there are four readers for each of the five short vowels, so they give students plenty of practice before moving on to words with long vowels in the second set. The covers of the books are color-coded. For instance, the short-a books have red covers while short-i books have orange covers.
Each reader is 11 pages long, and every page features black-and-white illustrations that children might want to color.
The first page in each book presents new phonograms that will be used and any new sight words that will be introduced. There are no instructions, but parents should take time to go over these with children before they begin the reader.
So far, the Superstar Readers sound like other sets of readers, but they have a few features that set them apart: superheroes, rhyming sentences, and positive messages in the stories.
Seven superhero characters—six children and a rat—are featured throughout the series. The readers have brief descriptions of the superheroes at the back, like this one for the character Rap: “Rap can dance, sing, spin and transform himself into any shape to save the day. He has boundless energy and never sits still for long.” Rat appears most frequently, and children are likely to be watching for him to pop up in each story.
Rhyming sentences are used frequently, but not always. The beginning readers don’t have enough text to rhyme. Still, even in the first set children read lines such as,
7 bugs hop on pup,
up, bugs, up. (Book 13 - 10 Bugs)
And in Book 19 - Kip-Kip Hen:
Oh no, I’m in the muck!
Oh no, it’s bad, bad luck!
It’s not great poetry, but the rhymes give a pleasant flow to the reading, and children will delight in rhymes like “Cock-a-doodle-doo!... I can catch you” (Book 61 – Loose Goose).
The positive messages touch on many topics. For example, Book 60 - Our World promotes conservation and ecological awareness with practical tips such as:
“While I’m brushing my teeth
I always turn off the tap,
and when it’s time to rinse
I turn it back on,” said Zap.
Book 41 – Slip, Slip, Spin! is about persevering when learning a new skill, Book 53 – White Dolphin is about keeping our seas clean, and Book 74 - Bright Light tells children there is no such thing as monsters. There are a variety of other messages in the books related to character building, caring for others, and caring for the environment.
You can also purchase optional sets of Comprehension Worksheets (PDF files) for Superstar Readers Sets 2, 3, and 4. The worksheets have children draw lines connecting words or captions to pictures, identify pictures in the sequence of a story, trace words, and answer comprehension questions. The worksheets for the third set introduce crossword puzzles. Those for Set 4 add pages that pose questions requiring lengthy answers, and children might write or dictate their responses.
The Superstar Readers should be appealing to students who are ready for (or need) more substantial content in phonetic readers. The characters, stories, and messages will probably engage their thinking on a higher level than many other readers.