So, even though I’ve owned the Greenfield Series for at least a year, I’ve always been intimidated by them because there are SO MANY books. (Granted, it takes less than a minute to go through them, but because I am lazy and have never looked through the books before, I had no idea.)
Well, for this fall, part of my goals for Cookie Monster was for him to go through Greenfield since I had them and it seemed a waste not to go through them. Besides, I had been hearing from people (and telling people) to go through Sagebooks then Greenfield and it seemed as if that was the next step since Cookie Monster has finished Sagebooks and is mostly working on his zhuyin. But I still wanted to increase character recognition for him.
Anyhow, after I started Cookie Monster on Greenfield the first day, I kind of panicked. He ripped through the entire twelve books of the first set (Red) of the I Can Read Series and even though there were a few characters here and there that he and I both didn’t recognize, it was super easy, highly repetitive, and I despaired that we were going to have to keep track of which characters Cookie Monster didn’t know.
But the thought of doing that was exhausting.
A complete pain in the ass and the last thing I want to do when teaching something is to have it be harder than necessary.
So, what did I do besides complain mightily to my friends? I asked my friends who have already gone through Sagebooks and Greenfield for their opinions and advice.
Below are a few of our conversations. Hopefully, they may address some of your similar concerns. When we’re finished with the series, I will post my review. (We’re almost done, but life happens, so you never know.)
MM: So did you like Greenfield?
PG: It’s ok. It’s not as good as Sagebooks, but it’s still good exposure to new words. Rhythm Girl (4.5) loves the pictures. Twist (2.5 boy), too! She wasn’t quite ready for the length of the Little Bear series after finishing Sagebooks, so Greenfield is a good in between.
There was quite a lot of vocab I learned along the way too. My family said some of the sentence structures and vocab was a little off. Then they saw it was from HK and said that’s why
MM: Did she learn new vocab? Like memorize the words? Or you just used them as readers? Not so much for vocab?
PG: Overall yes. Some stuff was just kinda obscure and we don’t come across it outside of Greenfield so she has trouble remembering those.
But some stuff like jungle gym and city she remembers really well.
MM: So you used the flash cards? Remembers the characters? Or what the word actually is in conversation?
PG: I didn’t use flashcards cuz my copies are bootlegged. And the magic box doesn’t come w flashcards. I wrote them on a dry erase board and we practiced similar to the way PW (one of our previous Chinese preschool teachers) does.
MM: You are amazing. The thought of using flash cards or constantly reviewing hurts me
PG: She remembers the word in conversation much better. She only recognizes the characters if we repeatedly see it used outside of Greenfield like in another book.
The downside of Greenfield is they are so short and not repetitive enough that she ends up memorizing the sentences without paying attention to the actual characters.
Haha. I thought about making flashcards like Guavarama did for Sagebooks and it just hurt my head. I just write it on the dry erase as we go thru..she actually keeps asking to write it herself, cuz she likes to be 小老師 (xiao3 lao3 shi/little teacher).
Sorry I think the jungle gym vocab came from Sesame, not Greenfield
But you get the idea. My feelings toward Greenfield are the same as Sesame.
MM: What was Sesame?
PG: Very similar to Greenfield. 8 page readers geared towards preschool age. Whole language approach. Originally from HK, but the TaiwaneseR version is much cheaper and has zhuyin. Lemme try to find a link.
No CD or flashcards like Greenfield, but there are comprehension activitiesi on the last two pages. I never did any of those.
MM: Have you done the Greenfield books?
F: With Bebe (7.5)?
F: She stopped at the 2nd to last set. Haven’t picked it up again.
MM: Did you review words she didn’t know? Or mainly used as readers?
F: She knew all the words until second to the last set. Then started encountering characters she didn’t know.
MM: I see. Cuz there are random words Cookie Monster doesn’t know.
F: So I need to sit down and figure out what words she doesn’t know. Lol.
MM: But I don’t really care or know how to drill into him.
MM: Is that bad?
F: No. He’s clearly learning words.
MM: I guess I don’t see the value of Greenfield.
F: I think since they know 勹夂冂匸, Greenfield isn’t really useful for them. Just another set of books to read.
F: I guess I could make her do the workbook.
MM: Because it seems kinda silly to me, too. Sigh. But then I have to rip out pages.
MM: And laminate or whatever.
F: I did already. All in binder now. No need to rip, just pull out staples and use paper cutter to slice pages in half. But again, no 勹夂冂匸, so if they can’t read instructions or don’t understand, you’d need to explain. Sob.
MM: Exactly. Have to say, I’m kinda disappointed – at least with the first set.
F: It would work if we weren’t doing 勹夂冂匸.
MM: You think so? It would take a lot of effort. Because I would have to keep track of what word he doesn’t know. And there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.
F: Yeah. I suppose so.
MM: Ok, help.
How do I use Greenfield books? They seem stupid. Cookie Monster knows most the words and the words he doesn’t we have to look up but don’t remember which ones he doesn’t know.
GR: Lol. You read it in a series. That’s it. With Astroboy, what I did was repeat.
MM: So, just read? Not drilling?
GR: Like today read red1-5, tomorrow read red 3-8 or something. I know. that’s why I said it’s not too helpful. The only way to make it work a bit is to repeat read.
MM: Cookie Monster blasted through Red 1-12 and Orange 1-2 today.
GR: Also, we’re [the kids are] too old. Also I would skip repeat. There’s no other way. you have to figure out the repetition schedule.
MM: What do you mean?
GR: When to repeat to remember the characters.
Like Day 1: red; Day 2: red+orange; Day 3: orange+yellow.
Or maybe it’s Day 1: red; Day 2: orange; Day 3: red+Yellow, Day 4: orange+green, etc.
Or else, just blast through these, repeating the series where he doesn’t know a lot of characters, and move on to reading with zhuyin.
MM: Ok. We are reading with zhuyin every day. Or trying to. So we do two sessions of readings 4-5x/wk.
GR: Yes. I think just back to guided reading 10 minutes a day with zhuyin. Unless his zhuyin is good enough he’s always reading correctly, in which case, with reading he will just pick up words and you don’t have to guide.
I mean, with GLS teaching him writing as well, that’s good enough, right?
MM: Ok. He forgets blending and keeps mixing up certain zhuyin just like Gamera.
I was going to do the reading comprehension workbooks with him, too. And then do guided reading. Mostly just to improve his zhuyin. I think he and I are both too impatient.
GR: Yes. He has to improve his zhuyin blending. That’s always the hardest. I find for Astroboy, it doesn’t quite work just repeat reading and he naturally will self correct because he doesn’t have the speaking skills to pick up what he’s saying wrong. Like he doesn’t have enough comprehension.
MM: Ah. Makes sense. I’m sure it will improve in Taiwan.
GR: Yes, but you can’t wait a year for that cuz in the meantime, anything he reads, he doesn’t understand and can’t self correct. So then your reading practice is moot in a way.
MM: No, for Astroboy. Not for Cookie Monster. Lol.
GR: Oh! Hahaha. I hope so. Cuz he’s not moving. Sigh.
MM: Lol. Sometimes, they just need a break or a change in environment.
GR: He’s just neglected.
MM: Lol. So is Gamera.
GR: Luckily, Gamera is strong in the language department.
MM: Yes, but she is lazy.
Alright. Yes. This is the post for today. Totally a cheat post, right? But hopefully, it gives some insight into the Greenfield Series and how three different moms used it with their children. When Cookie Monster is done with the I Can Read Series, I will write an actual review.
Until then, have a great weekend!