Monday, May 17, 2010

PageTurners - Launching the blog

Hi everyone, Anne here, to tell you about PageTurners, our short, fun books for adults learning to read.

The latest series of the adult literacy readers, PageTurners Series 4, is now for sale. Series 4 contains  10 fun new titles, mostly at the easier reading end of the spectrum, with 4 titles at level 1 (Yellow) 4 titles at level 2 (Red) and one each at 3 (Blue)  and  4 (Green.)
It seems there's a real demand for readers for adults who are just learning to read. We're very happy about that, as that's why we started making books in the first place -- we were teaching people to read and the only books we could find for beginner readers were kids' books.

How PageTurners Started
I've been making books with students for years, making them by hand just for our own classes. Apart from being expensive, books for adults at absolute beginner level were hard to find. We built up quite a little home-made library. Then Libby, who was our boss at PRACE (Preston Reservoir Adult Community Education) suggested we make them for sale, and so, having Moira, the demon cartoonist, on our team, we did. That was 10 years ago, and since then we've published 37 books.

The first series was really an experiment and we had no real idea if they would sell or not.  We decided to focus on reading for fun and pleasure, as so many books focus on reading for practical purposes.  Since we have a youth program as well as general literacy and ESL programs, we made sure some of the stories would appeal to young people as well.
I remember the first day we got the  books back from the printers, and I took them into my class. Graeme, who'd never read any kind of book in his life, grabbed I Want a Holiday and started reading it aloud. In the end, he read the whole story to the class. Everyone clapped. Graeme was so thrilled when he realized he'd read it all the way through without help, he picked up another book straight away. It was a good omen, I thought.

The experiment worked, and since then, the books have pretty much sold by word of mouth, and by us sitting at a table, showing them at an occasional literacy/ESL conference. It's great fun doing that -- people are always coming up and saying, "Hey, I love those books" and then they grab a friend and tell  them all about the books and how they use them. Nice people also put reviews up and blog about them, which is fantastic, too.
It's wonderful to know that as well as being sold all over Australia, the books are used in other countries -- in Canada, the USA,  New Zealand and the UK. We're hoping to find more distributors, so if you read this and know of any, feel free to email us.

The purpose of this blog is to share some background information about the various stories, to make some suggestions for class activities and to open a channel for communication.  In future blogs I'll be telling you a little background about each book and also a bit about the people who produce the books. We've also updated our website with a cleaner look and more content, including audio readings of some of the books. We hope you like the new-look website. We're still tweaking it, so we welcome constructive comments and suggestions.

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