Independent review of That Dog! series


We have just received this independent review from Teach Primary Magazine.  The review is available online.  See link below.

Phonic Books – That Dog! for catch-up readers across the school.

At a glance:
• Age appropriate, synthetic phonic catch-up reading books with decodable text for pupils who can read CVC words
• Controlled language that dovetails the reading level of pupils
• Modern-day stories that build in difficulty with outstanding illustrations
• Extensive supporting workbook packed with word-building, reading, comprehension, spelling and punctuation activities
• A rich mixture of mixture of blending, segmenting, reading, spelling and comprehension tasks.

Learning to read transforms children’s lives. Struggling readers often read less, have less exposure to print and therefore have limited sight vocabularies. So how do we help them?
Children who require practice and extra reading support benefit from a healthy, balanced diet of literacy activities embedded within a broad approach. But teachers need to seek out appropriate interventions relevant to their particular context and the individual needs of the child.

The latest resource from Phonic Books might just be what you are looking for. This is a series of 12 exciting books called ‘That Dog’ that take children from CVC and CVCC word level text through to adjacent consonants, consonant digraphs and suffixes –ed and -ing.

The beauty of having a series of books with a story theme is that it helps build fluency. By reading and rereading familiar texts and reading aloud children are invested in the narrative and are given immediate opportunities to apply what they have learned.

‘That Dog’ is an engaging, lively and compelling story about a boy who has always wanted a dog and one day is followed home by a stray which he hides in his bedroom. The visually striking illustrations that accompany the text are truly stunning and add considerable interest and value.

They cleverly combine a reader age of 4-7 with a high interest age of 8-14 years and allow children to experience reading success. They provide a connected step-by-step reading exercise that children can use to practice their newly acquired reading skills with the additional challenge of reading for meaning.

The chapters are short and sweet with only a few lines of text and the font is dyslexia friendly and printed on a cream background for easier reading. Each book contains a reading practice page with phonic focus and a helpful vocabulary page too. The corresponding Workbook support the reading books with excellent differentiated pre and post activities all well furnished with aims, teaching points and guidelines.

Phonic Books fit neatly into a structured, cumulative and sequential teaching approach and supports children reach a point of automaticity in their reading. These are books with high lexical quality credentials that bring about reliable word identification and push children forward to apply their new-found decoding skills confidently and independently.

They breed reading success because they provide children with carefully thought-out opportunities to decode which discourages bad habits such as skipping over unknown words or guessing a word based on the first few letters.

We all know what happens when children struggle to read and as lovable as he is, we don’t want to replicate the experience of the BFG: “Words,” he said, “is oh such a twitch-tickling problem to me all my life.”

Phonic Books are ‘no tricks’ books that fills gaps in knowledge and skills, they are simple to use and amazing value at just £45 and the Workbook £30. I’d recommend them as a bridge to reading more complex and rich text and for moving children into a range of authentic books.

The verdict

  • Activates both word recognition and language comprehension
  • Supports acquisition of the alphabetic principle
  • Allows children to experience success in reading independently
  • Builds confidence and reading fluency
  • Supports children experience a real feeling of success and accomplishment

Upgrade if…
you are looking for decodable books to help support children master the foundations of reading, apply the correct phonological processing skills and make rapid improvement.


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