What teacher and pupils say about the Magic Belt Series

This week we received an email from Anne, a teacher who reported impressive reading progress with her pupils using the Totem and Talisman series (see post below).  She wrote in response to our request for testimonials on the new Magic Belt series.  This is what she wrote:

“I have been using the Magic Belt series since the books were first published at the end of August 2012.  My pupils using the series were able to read cvc words but little else. Some pupils sounded out each letter of each word which was often very frustrating for them.

Materials with a story content level which was decodable, interesting and at the right level of challenge (not patronising or babyish) were almost non-existent in the publishing market.  Being BDA trained I am thrilled with the books and follow up materials, which are appropriate to cover all relevant processes to aid reading, writing, spelling and overlearning often necessary for pupils who have not learned to read without individual tuition.

I have made up the vocabulary linking sentences onto coloured card.  The sequencing of sentences from the story is on another set of coloured cards. This makes these additionally multi-sensory, which is vital for pupils with literacy difficulties. I have also made sets of cards with the syllable splits on different cards which helps the pupils feel that they are reading grown up words, as syllables are introduced from the first book.  The sheet for the full circle words includes nonsense words which ensures the pupils listen to the word said.  I make these on another colour of card.

When completing the Comprehension 3 (cloze exercise) and Writing captions sheets, I use ‘Fred Fingers’ a technique I learned from a ‘Read Write Inc’ training and then encourage the pupil to write in the word from memory.

I currently have 5 pupils on the series ranging from Year 3-6.  Each has decided to comment on what they think:

Pupil A (age 7)  says:  These are amazing books because it gives me nice surprises with what happens.  It’s helped me a lot with my reading and I’ve moved up to turquoise at school.

Pupil B (age 7) says: They’re easy to read and it’s fun.  The worksheets are fun too.

Pupil C (age 7) says: Good because it’s a funny story.

Pupil D (age 8) says: I like it because it is disgusting (some story content!), but it’s fun because the pictures are good and help you read the book.

Pupil E (age 10) C says:  Good.  I like how they say all the words.  All the hard words, it helps you say them.  I like the actors – the people are very good, they use tools to get their way.  I like the way they use the belt instead of their pocket for the stones.

The final point I have noticed is how the series has enthused these pupils, many of whom have quite low self-esteem.  Concentration, application and ability to complete a task without adult prompt at every other minute shows much improvement in every one of these pupils.”

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