Planning ahead… 2

In the last post, I talked about Stories For Young Readers from Kinney Brothers Publishing and how to purchase the series for your classes.  In this post, I’ll focus on our Phonics & Spelling series.  I’ll provide links for purchasing and recommended support materials for each text to help you plan for new classes in the spring.

The Phonics & Spelling series, published by Independent Publishers International (I.P.I.), is available with a special discount through David Paul’s ETJ Book Service.  The five-book series is designed to teach kids the fundamental sounds and spelling of English in a multi-year, step-by-step ESL program.  For many teachers, a solid phonics program is the cornerstone of their pre-K thru elementary classes.  Focused phonics lessons and phonemic awareness improve pronunciation, listening comprehension, and give students the confidence to read and understand English.

You’ll find an abundance of support materials for this series in our online store, Donald’s English Classroom.  Visit for downloadable flash cards, charts, games, and activities.


A to Z is the first step to introducing very young ESL students to the ABCs and phonics. If your kids are just learning to hold a pencil, this is the perfect primer.  Children love coloring the large images and build dexterity writing the upper and lower-case letters. Included are easy dot-to-dot coloring pages, mazes, and matching exercises.  Check out the preview to learn more.

Flash Card SetABC Flash Card SetPhonics BingoABC & Phonics I Have/Who HasABC Bingo AnimalsSea Fishing


ABC & Phonics, Book 1 lays the groundwork for phonetic based learning and focuses on writing and identifying upper and lower case ABCs.  With basic writing, matching, and ordering exercises, teachers can readily assess student progress.  The alphabet is broken down into four sections, a-f, g-l, m-r and s-z with review for each section.  Click here for support materials that include flashcards, charts, games, and activities that make learning the ABCs fun!  You can download a preview for this textbook here.

Flash Card SetABC Flash Card SetABC BingoABC FishingAlphabet ChartsExit Tickets


Phonics & Spelling, Book 2 begins with a review of the ABCs and sets students on their first exercises in sounding out, reading, and writing three-letter (CVC) words.  Learned vocabulary is then set into easy sentences to teach students fundamental sentence constructs and meaning. Step by step, students also learn how to read and write a simple self-introduction.  The exercises progress in an easy-to-teach, easy-to-comprehend approach adaptable to any program. Included are review pages, puzzles, games, and reading exercises that students find challenging and fun!  Be sure to check out the preview here!

Flash Card SetCVC Word ChartsCVC Word PuzzlesCVC I Have/Who HasSwimming with SharksCVC Write Around the Room


Phonics & Spelling, Book 3 takes students further in building English reading and writing skills.  Book 3 begins with a review of CVC words and then takes students to the next challenge of reading, writing, and spelling silent ‘e’ (CVCe) words, words with ea-ee-ey spelling, as well as th, sh, and ch digraphs.  Exercise pages also include practice with numbers, plurals, more extended reading practice, and basic question forms using do and can.  Check out the preview here!

Flash Card SetCVCe Word ChartsCVCe I Have/Who HasSilent e BingoPhonics Activity SetESL Pronunciation Practice


Phonics & Spelling, Book 4 completes the phonics series with almost two hundred packed pages of phonics lessons, reading and writing practice, puzzles, spelling tests, and Q&A drills. Exercises include consonant blends, digraphs, dipthongs and practice with silent k, g, and ion.  The phonics lessons in this textbook create a solid foundation that supports students in their future English language learning.  Download a preview here.

Flash Card SetDipthong & Digraph ChartsTask Cards320 Word Flash Card SetClock BingoCommunity Places


If you’d like to learn more about all Kinney Brothers Publishing has to offer, please download our catalogues!  Peruse the complete lineup of our Global Edition ESL Textbooks or check out our ESL Store right from your desktop!  Sign up for our newsletter and download a free CVC I Have/Who Has Activity Set!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at info@kinneybrothers.com.

As always, best of luck in your classes!

Donald Kinney

Kinney Brothers Publishing

kinneybrothers.com

Planning ahead…

With the school year in Japan wrapping up soon and teachers planning for new spring classes, I’ve been getting inquiries about the best way to purchase Kinney Brothers Publishing textbooks and downloadable resources.  In this post,  I’ll provide links and recommended support materials for the Stories For Young Readers series to help you schedule the year ahead.  In the next post, I’ll focus on the Phonics & Spelling series for teachers looking for preschool through elementary education materials.

The Stories For Young Readers series, published by Independent Publishers International (I.P.I.), is available with a special discount through David Paul’s ETJ Book Service.  The series includes questions, grammatical explanations, exercises, and puzzles for beginning students. The books are designed to extend students’ skills and interest in communicating in English. Teachers can utilize the stories and exercises for listening comprehension, reading, writing, and conversation.  Book 1 focuses on present simple and present continuous reading exercises.  Book 2 takes students further with simple past, past continuous and simple future tenses.

Check out the previews or download the first readings from Book 1 and Book 2  for free!  They include audio files, answer keys and dialogues!

You’ll find an abundance of support materials for this series in our online store, Donald’s English Classroom.  Visit for downloadable flash cards, charts, games, textbooks, answer keys, and audio files.

You might also be interested in Dialogues for Young Speakers – a series of dialogues and surveys designed to extend students’ conversation skills. Following Stories for Young Readers, the dialogues progress from present simple to present continuous in Book 1, and simple past, past continuous, and future tenses in Book 2. Not only will teachers find a wealth of material that will get students up and talking, the dialogues also prove that students can effectively communicate with even a limited vocabulary. You can download these textbooks online, order directly from the Kinney Brothers Publishing web site, or order on Amazon.co.jp.  Download previews for Book 1 and Book 2 here!

If you’d like to learn more about all Kinney Brothers Publishing has to offer, please download our catalogues!  Peruse the complete lineup of our Global Edition ESL Textbooks or check out our ESL Store right from your desktop!  Sign up for our newsletter and download a free CVC I Have/Who Has Activity Set!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at info@kinneybrothers.com.

As always, best of luck in your classes!

Donald Kinney

Kinney Brothers Publishing

kinneybrothers.com

Happy Halloween!

Looking for some Halloween activities?  Look no further!  We’ve got two awesome activities you and your kids are sure to enjoy!  Halloween Bingo is a classic that’s easy to set up and easy to play!  Halloween House is a craft activity that you’ll want to keep around all year!  With ghosts and goblins in every room, just print and fold!  Click on the images below to learn more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing you and yours a very safe and happy Halloween!

Now in Japan!

 

Stories for Young Readers, Books 1 & 2 are now available in Japan!

I.P.I. (Independent Publishers International), Japan’s leading distributor of language teaching materials from around the world, has officially released Stories for Young Readers, Book 1 and 2! We’re thrilled that teachers will now have these textbooks available at local bookstores!

You can purchase from David Paul’s ETJ Book Service for special discounts!

To be kept up to date on all our teaching materials, please add your name to our mailing list!

History of Publishing

Stories for Young Readers was first published in 2000 when we three Kinney brothers, Donald (me), Robert (my twin brother), and Michael (the Younger),  were living and working in Saitama Prefecture in Japan.  Bob was teaching at a private, all-boys junior high school. Given few resources for teaching, he began creating his own lessons with pictures, questions, and puzzles that he hoped would inspire the boys to learn, or at least pay attention!  These lessons eventually turned into the first edition of the textbooks.

We solicited several of the big ESL publishing companies with our book proposals but were roundly, though politely, rejected.  Undaunted and confident that there was a place for our textbook ideas on the market, we took the bull by the horns, invested in desk-top-publishing software, and began designing the books on our own.

The first print run of the books was through a Japanese company that, unfortunately, turned out very bad.  The books arrived packed in newspaper, glue seeping from the spines, and ink that could be rubbed off with your fingers.  The books had to be returned twice before they were even tolerable! It was a nightmare.

Mike, our younger brother, took a stack of the books to a book fair in Tokyo, located the English Resource Bookstore kiosk and asked if he could place our books on their table.  Surprisingly, they agreed and the books sold!  A couple weeks later, they contacted us by fax requesting distribution rights, and so our publishing career began.

It took nearly three years to sell that run of books and we were learning to negotiate heavy boxes of books in our living space.  Over the years, the number of boxes became so great that we had to buy a large shed to store them outside.  We started by selling faxed orders for individual books but eventually convinced the English Resource to order by the box.   We also tried different methods for getting the books the one mile to the local post office; a large cart that rattled and swerved on and off the sidewalks, bicycles with one or two boxes strapped to the back, and finally a post office pickup system that worked as well as the drivers were grumpy and officious.

Nearing the final boxes of that first run, we were determined to make Stories for Young Readers better.  Bob consolidated the stories into a single textbook, and I designed a new cover on my new Adobe Illustrator program, replacing the cranky Quark Express that caused us so many printing headaches.  We located a printer in Singapore (half the cost of printing in Japan!), made arrangements for international shipping, and in 2003 Stories for Young Readers, 2nd Edition was born. A few weeks later, a 2nd edition of Q&A also arrived to replace the impossibly hokey first edition.  These were minimum 1,000-book runs and we were having to split the boxes between our apartments; books in the living room, books in the kitchen, and books in my bedroom!

(If you ever decide to have a book printed, I strongly recommend Saik Wah Press Media Pte Ltd in Singapore.  They are very professional, offer a quality product and their representatives are 100% there for you and your publishing goals.)

In the interim, I had written a five-book phonics series for the kindergarten students I was teaching.  In 2005, unsure if we could find  a place in an already crowded phonics market, we ordered print runs and submitted the textbooks to Nellies Bookstore (English Resource having been bought out). The series was curtly rejected.  A few months later, they contacted us and agreed to begin selling them.  Why the turn around, I’m not sure, but the phonics series solidified our presence in the publishing market in Japan.

By 2010, Bob had completely reworked Stories into a solid, grammatically sound series of graded readings.  By this time, we knew our time in Japan was going to be coming to an end soon.  We were longing to return to the U.S. but didn’t want to be saddled with inventory or have to manage inventory in Japan from the U.S.  That was when we learned about print-on-demand publishing at CreateSpace, a subsidiary of Amazon.com.  It was a perfect solution for us and the Global Edition of Stories for Young Readers debuted on this printing platform.  Just as we were getting ready to leave Japan, our books were opening up to a world market through Amazon.com.

We made licensing agreements with I.P.I. (Independent Publishers International) who took on the phonics series and bought out our inventory – but was still on the fence about the newest Stories for Young Readers series. This year, 2017, I.P.I. agreed to begin publishing Stories, and we are thrilled that these textbooks will continue to be available in Japan.

The Last Story

When Robert passed away in June of 2013, he had plans for a third book in the Stories for Young Readers series.  This was the first installment in that book and the last story he wrote and illustrated.  At the time that he wrote this, he was teaching at Saitama University and was deeply interested in fairy tales and their histories.  As he said in a discussion, he thought the story was useful as a parallel to larger cultural issues and would be useful for promoting discussion in class.  You can click on the image to make it larger.  Enjoy.