'Buddy Books' Series Created to Help Young Readers
A Pinehurst Elementary School teacher has developed a fun way to teach kids to read with an unlikely partner -- her dog.
Kathy McGougan, who teaches Reading Recovery and Early Literacy at the school for first and second graders who have trouble reading, has created "Buddy Books" -- a series of 29 books leveled by difficulty. The star of the series is Buddy, McGougan's mischievous two-year-old Jack Russell terrier, and the books follow Buddy's various adventures.
"It's been a lot of fun," McGougan says.
The concept is similar to Bob Books, millions of which have been sold to young readers around the country.
McGougan says that Buddy's antics are a constant source of material for her books. The dog's propensity for trouble makes for an entertaining and fun read for her students, who all have favorite stories from the series. Buddy pretty much does it all -- he goes to the beach, gets dirty, plays ball, goes trick or treating, and even goes on TV.
The books, published by McGougan and her new publishing company, Buddy Books Publishing, features photos of Buddy doing his various activities. According to her Web site, the books "contain high-frequency words and lots of repetition in order to aid the developing reader. Many of the books contain rhyme to promote fluency."
McGougan has taken self-publishing classes at Sandhills Community College to learn the process.
McGougan is releasing her first "read aloud" book-- "Fixin' Buddy's Little Red Wagon" -- designed to introduce the Buddy Book series. The story follows Buddy from his wild puppyhood to his training down at Top Dog Training Center in Pinebluff. McGougan's mother used the term "I'm going to fix your little red wagon" when someone was acting up.
"I included a lot of symbolism in the story," McGougan said.
When you see Buddy now, you'd have no idea that he used to be a "bad boy." Donning his blue harness, a signal that he's working, Buddy sits quietly. He's a member of the school system's C.A.R.E. -- Canine Assisted Reading Education -- Program, and when he's got that harness on, he's all business. Plus, the kids love meeting the real-life star of the books when he comes to school.
"I'm really, really proud of that," McGougan said, "We've come a long way."
Buddy also makes appearances at local nursing homes.
For the new read-aloud book, McGougan enlisted the help of friend and colleague Sally Hale, a Visual Arts teacher at the school, to illustrate the book. For Hale, the assignment fulfilled a lifelong dream of hers.
"We've enjoyed this very much," Hale says. "I've always wanted the opportunity to do something like this."
McGougan and Hale worked hard on the project over the summer. McGougan has been working with Trafford Publishing, a "print-on demand" publishing company based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The first copy of "Fixin' Buddy's Little Red Wagon" arrived in early March.
"It was definitely a learning experience," McGougan said.
So far, McGougan has sold over 4,000 of her leveled readers. Her goal is to sell the series across the country. She calls it "spreading the Buddy joy."
Those looking for more information on the Buddy Books series are encouraged to visit McGougan's Web site at www.buddybookspublishing.com.
Contact John Krahnert III at 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com
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