Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Series Editor Joy Cowley Discusses The Kaleidoscope Collection

Joy Cowley  is the beloved creator & author of the  Mrs. Wishy-Washy  stories as well as thousands of other children's books. Amongst the various roles she plays, Joy is also the Series Editor of the  Kaleidoscope Collection  – a series of 150 K-2 leveled readers written by leading educators including Reading Recovery Teachers, Teacher Leaders, Literacy Coaches, and Reading Specialists. Hameray Publishing is set to release the final fifty titles (Set C) of this collection today (2/3/13), and we have asked Joy to reflect on how she has helped to shape this unique series.

Reflections From Joy Cowley:

The 150 titles in this series were selected from more than 1,000 stories and then edited to appropriate levels. What I looked for in a story was: 

  1. Child-centred plot: A real story that connected directly with the young child's experience.

  2. Decodable language: At these levels it is useful to have words that sound the way they are spelled.

  3. Prediction and a degree of challenge: The reader will be comfortable with the familiar and will respond to the new.

  4. Repetition of service words that are not obvious in the illustration.

  5. Energy, humour, charm; These hold the child's attention.

  6. Real story shape with a satisfying ending.

The stories selected were strong in many of these points. Where a good idea was lacking in some way, it was my pleasure as editor to reconstruct so that the idea was readily accessible and entertaining for the reader. I call this process " Polishing the Diamond ," It was also my pleasure to provide notes for the illustrators, who, like the authors, are helping children to learn to read.

Years of engineering have gone into the  Kaleidoscope Collection ; but, I sincerely hope that children simply see these books as fun.

Joy Cowley

Click   here  to learn more about the Kaleidoscope Collection or to request a 2013 Hameray Catalog (click below):