At last, an innovative reading programme that does what it says on the tin. Bug Club genuinely provides us with a tailor-made, personalised reading experience that is engaging and fun.
Pearson’s Bug Club is a whole-school, phonically based, holistic reading programme that unites online ebooks with printed books to teach and inspire children to read. The good news is that Bug Club materials for Reception and KS1 have now been followed by KS2 Bug Club resources, and that’s definitely worth getting excited about if you are in Y3-6.
KS2 Bug Club manages to live up to the same high standards. Let’s start with the books. There are 44 titles to delve into and all the titles possess a hook to get children interested. There is something for all tastes and interests. For example, the fictional titles contain short stories, comics, and novels from popular fiction series such as Charlie Small, The Quigleys and An Awfully Beastly Business. Then there are photonovels which provide a superb focus for visual literacy – the wonderfully engaging Dr Who photonovel is destined to be a winner with many. The non-fictional titles include step-by-step guides, quests and challenges, historical topics and a 101 things to do strand. They all manage to tick the box for engagement and all make compelling reading.
The Bug Club books are sorted into band levels and within each pile of books there is a carefully graded progression on offer. A lot of thought has gone into the defined levels so that children make appropriate progress but are still challenged at the same time. The criteria for defining levels and sub-levels in the fictional titles include the content, text length, sentence structure, and punctuation. Non-fictional titles are graded according to more varied and sophisticated presentational features, different text types within a title and a mixture of formal and informal language. The texts have been scrutinised by a Reading Recovery professional and each book has been trialled in schools with children so you can be assured that they have been given the ‘no stone left unturned’ treatment.
Remember, there are ebooks for every printed title and that is why Bug Club is so special. Read the printed book, then practise reading an ebook. The online reading world is a delight to dive into and splash about in. It is so well constructed and very easy to use, whether as a pupil, teacher or parent. The ebooks share the same brilliant illustrations and photographs as the printed books and they contain quiz questions to bring the books to life. They also contain sound effects to add excitement at key points along the way. I would like to have heard more though as they were few and far between. Children can visit their own personalised Bug Club homepage where they can choose their own avatar and read books that appeal to them. A reward system has been built-in so that children can collect points for completing quizzes and these can be exchanged for stickers and animations.
Teachers get pretty much everything on a plate with this programme. The Planning and Assessment Guides are thorough and detailed. The online features are highly flexible and allow you to plan reading experiences that dovetail every learner’s needs whilst gathering valuable assessment data about them along the way. This enables you to evaluate their reading progress across a range of Assessment Focuses.
At last, an innovative reading programme that does what it says on the tin. Bug Club genuinely provides us with a tailor-made, personalised reading experience that is engaging and fun. The kid-cred ebooks give the printed version an extra edge and the support for teachers is superb. Bug Club KS2: original, exciting, hard to beat and quite possibly the future of reading within schools.