In “Spectacular Spectacles” , by Jane O’Connor, Nancy is jealous of her friend for having glasses so she desperately tries to make her eyes worse in the hopes of getting some herself. In the end Nancy’s mother helps her to realize that she does not have to ruin her eyes to have glasses, instead she can do something creative. The Fancy Nancy series is full of lighthearted stories that are great for early readers. Vocabulary acquisition is one of the main reasons we read to children. The Fancy Nancy series presents new vocabulary words explicitly, describing them as “fancy” ways to say other words. For example in “Spectacular Spectacles” , O’Connor presents the word “distressing” :
“ In school her eyes hurt a lot. It is very distressing. (That’s like upsetting- only fancier). “
I enjoyed these books because they are not only fun for kids to read, but they facilitate the development of a more complex vocabulary. I think the way in which Jane O’Connor frames new words simply as fancier words is very clever because every child loves pretend they are fancy from time to time! At the back of each book there is a list of all the “fancy” new words that children will have come across by the end of the story. The Fancy Nancy Series is leveled, allowing children to see their progress as they continue to read. This series is definitely a great choice for new readers looking to have a sophisticated vocabulary!
By Isabelle Despins