Sunday, August 31, 2008

Double Day Picture Classics Good for Readers with Eye Tracking Problems

I continue to keep my eyes peeled for books that are laid out in a way that make them easier to read for children with eye tracking problems. These books also of course, are fine and well for all children!

I stumbled upon a book at a library fundraiser book sale and bought it. I realize now it is one in a series. Perhaps you can find these at your public library, still in circulation or maybe you can watch for them while shopping at used book shops, thrift stores or at library fundraiser book sales.

The books are classic books which are abridged. They are oversized at 9 x 13 inches. The margins are 1.5 inches at their smallest. The book we own is “Treasure Island” and it has one illustration on every two-page spread, hand drawn, some are in pencil or charcoal pencil in gray tones and others are watercolor painted in full color.

The series is by Doubleday and my book was published in 1960. I am under the impression that these are out of print. This is before ISBNs existed so finding them to purchased used online may be difficult. At the bottom of the front cover it says “A Doubleday Picture Classic”. At 87 pages this is not a skimpily worded picture book for preschoolers. The vocabulary is super dumbed down and the sentence length is pretty long.

Our book is “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson the original story abridged by Johanna Johnston Illustrated by Robert Frankenberg, a Doubleday Picture Classic.

Here are some random quotes to illustrate the vocabulary and sentence length.

“Mechanically, I obeyed and the next moment was face to face with a pirate, cutlass upraised above my head. I leaped in a trice upon one side and, slipping in the sand, rolled headlong down the slope.” (page 48)

“I was hard put to it not to weep, when I heard how everyone had worried about me. Then the doctor himself, fearing I might be tortured by the buccaneers, suddenly whispered to me that I should scramble over the palisade and run for it.” (page 70)


A Note on Classics for Young Children

While I’m on the topic of recommending classics I want to mention the opinion expressed by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise in the book “The Well Trained Mind”. They feel that it is a good idea to expose elementary grade children to a simplified version of classics. In the middle school years the children again should read abridged but more difficult classics of the same stories. Going a bit deeper as age appropriate, revisiting the familiar story. Then in high school years the teen will read the original, unabridged classic. Being familiar in general with the characters and plot they will not be afraid to tackle the sometimes difficult language and will be open-minded to read the story in its original form.

So that is another reason why reading abridged but not completely watered down versions of classic stories in the elementary and middle school grades is a great idea.



The general idea of exposing children to easy information in elementary school and going deeper on the same topic in middle school and then even deeper in high school is a foundational principal of the classical education theory. How to home educate a child in the classical education model is explained in “The Well Trained Mind”. As well some parents of schooled children are using that information to teach their children at home in the after-school hours, they call that ‘after schooling’.

I was able to find this “Treasure Island” book for sale, used, online at Amazon, here:



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1 comment:

Alasandra said...

You have been nominated for Alasandra's Homeschool Blog Awards.