Pigeon Decoded

How to find what you want, when you want on Paperback Pigeon.
(Or, how I realized that my unregulated posting was not user friendly.)

When categorizing books it is hard to prioritize the criteria for arranging them – and the Pigeon is a fickle organizer.  One day by reading level, the next by location! How is anyone supposed to find what they are looking for?  Since I don’t really know how I exactly plan to keep things in a logical, consistent, user friendly way it’s time for me to develop a few ground rules for adding books and posts to the site.  I figured it would be helpful for you to know those rules so that you can follow along and play, too!

BLOG POSTS:  In general, the Pigeon orders books within a blog by reading level, with the picture books first and then moving up to Middle Readers.  Books within a blog post will have the abbreviation for type of book at the end of the book review.

OTHER PAGES:  Right now other pages, like Locations, have multiple books for different reading levels on them.  I will use the abbreviation code below to determine the intended audience for that book.

MOM’S Bookshelf:  Hopefully the title of this page alludes to the fact that these are ADULT READS, and may contain content that is not intended for young readers – regardless of their amazing reading level.  However, I may add an abbreviation if I feel the book has no objectionable content for YA readers, but keep in mind the intended audience for these books.

THE CODE: It is like you are joining a secret society…psst!  what’s the code?  Except that it is pretty elementary and well, derived from common sense deductions.  But still, it’s an honor to be apprised of this cool code.

PB: Picture Books – These books are great for any reading level.  What? No Way!  Yes!  Any reading level can enjoy a good picture book.  They are very appropriate for your preschool reader and can be wonderful bridging tools for multi-age groups.

ER: Early Readers– This is a tough group to categorize. I usually say they are for K-3rd Graders, but it really depends on your child’s reading level.  This group contains Biscuit, Magic Treehouse, and Geronimo Stilton – what a range!  Often after an early reader you will see a number (K-3) which will further break down the reading level for you.  Don’t be afraid to read these together, or as a read-aloud if you child isn’t quite ready to tackle them on their own.  PreK readers who are ready to listen to chapter books will enjoy having these read to them.

MR: Middle Readers – These books are more complex chapter books that require some reading dedication, but the rewards are plenty!  Independent readers in Grades 3-6 will enjoy tackling them on their own, but many of these are wonderful as read-alouds for your younger child.  Some of these books may contain more serious content matter that you may want to discuss with your child.

YA: Young Adult – Geared for 6th Grade and Up, these books are meant for mature older readers.  They may contain content that requires some parent conversation to help process.  However, when read with a parent (or concurrently) they can help your early teen navigate the world they are becoming a part of.  These books can help you connect, facilitating thought provoking conversation, educating kids and parents together.

RA: Read-Aloud – All picture books fall into this category, so you won’t see RA after those. However, in other categories, I will mark RA after books that are particularly good for reading aloud to your child.  A very (very) loose rule of thumb that a very wise educator (my mother in-law) shared with me  is that kids like to read about characters approximately 3 years older than they are.  So another very (very) loose rule is that if your child can read at a certain level, look for a read-aloud a level above that.

The Pigeon’s RA RULE: Don’t stop reading aloud to your kids until they force you, kicking and screaming, to put down the book.  Invite your older kids to “join” when you read to younger ones, or help with the “voices”.  Pick multi-age books with levels of enjoyment for everyone in your family.  Divide and conquer by sharing the read aloud load with your spouse, grandparent or sitter.   If all else fails, download an audio book for kids to listen to!

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