Fancy Nancy at the Museum by Jane O’Connor is a Level 1, Beginning Reading, in the I Can Read! series. This book combines two of my favorite things when it comes to helping my daughter learn to read.
Fancy Nancy books in general always do a good job at enriching a child’s vocabulary by using a more difficult word, then following up immediately with the definition, something I find more beneficial at ages four and five than relying on context clues within the sentences in order to decipher the meanings of unfamiliar words.
Having the built-in definitions helps the story flow better than it would if you were stopping to answer questions about what the new words mean as you read the book together. The I Can Read! books take it a step further by breaking the story down into simple sentences and words that are easier for beginning readers to sound out, so my daughter can read most of the story by herself.
This particular story takes Nancy on a bus ride to the museum to look at paintings. She gets sick along the way because she eats her lunch as well as her friend’s. She wears her teacher’s extra (fancy!) t-shirt for the rest of the trip, gets inspired by the masterpieces, and goes home to paint a picture for her teacher to thank her for being so nice. The story introduces words like: beret, landscape, lavender, overjoyed, observant, still life, gallery, and portrait.
I already had high expectations for the book just because of the character and the I Can Read! line, and the book didn’t disappoint me or my daughter. I also like that it goes beyond the trip to the museum, with demonstrations of kindness, first when the teacher lets Nancy wear her extra shirt and then when Nancy repays her for the gesture with a creation of her own.
Photo credit: Amazon