See the “main characters,” Joey and Finnie, below!
More than a “leveled reader”
In the appendix of the book, I detail some of the steps to inject science into the construction of the stories. But in summary, this book is unique in that it is not only a leveled reader…
(at the 1st grade level, DRA Level of approximately 9 to 19, Lexile band 410L to 600L)
…but it is also a precise tool for first grade word exposure.
The stories specifically feature 197 words that first graders are supposed to know at the frequencies that occur in the real world.
Real World Alignment
This chart illustrates how the rank-order of a word’s popularity in recent books (according to Google Ngram) compares to the frequency with which the word appears in Doggy Days.
By design, these two are closely related.
This chart illustrates how the stories in Doggy Days increase in total length (from the 1st to the 31st story), but remain at a similar “density” of first grade words.
More specifically, word counts increase from 252 words in Story 1 to 501 words in Story 31, but the percentage of the words in each story that are on the 197-word first grade list hovers around 56% (ranging from 52% to 62%). This means that readers can increase their endurance of reading without also being frustrated by increasing complexity.
The back of the book lists all of the words from each of the 7 word lists that make up the 197 “first grade words”.
But here, we see:
…each story’s word count,
…how many of the “197 first grade words” appear at least 1x in each story,
…and the exact percentages mentioned above (the proportion of all words that come from the 197-word first grade list).
As a parent, I know how vague most early reading books can be about what they target, how, and precisely why. I hope this satisfies your curiosity about what Doggy Days offers first grade readers!