Can SEND children learn to read with phonics?

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Here at Phonic Books we have been publishing decodable books for beginner and catch-up readers for seventeen years.  During those years we attended many conferences and education shows.  When discussing whether our books were suited to students with Special Educational Needs, we always deferred to the teachers working in SEND settings. While we were confident teaching dyslexic children to read, we felt uncertain about how children with mild or severe learning disabilities learn to read.  We often heard the claims, "Downs Syndrome children don't learn to read with phonics." or "Children with ASD are visual learners".  We felt we just weren't qualified or experienced enough to have an opinion about how to teach SEND children to read. That is - until we read the article below.  It was written by Ann Sullivan, an experienced SEND teacher, who has created her own phonics programme specifically for SEND children.  Here is her website: www.phonicsforpupilswithspecialeducationalneeds

For any teacher working with SEND children - we really recommend this blog post.  Ann discusses how the brain learns to read and how research has shown that this is no different in SEND children.  She writes that it is not a question of whether to teach SEND children to read with phonics but how.  The steps are the same, but they be smaller steps, taking longer to consolidate.  A great deal of practice may be needed and special teaching methods, not used in mainstream education, may need to be adopted by the teachers.  Also, because learning to read may take longer - age-appropriate reading materials will be needed to enthuse and engage children who must overcome additional difficulties when learning to read.  And all of Ann's arguments are backed by research!

Here is Ann's post.  Recommended!

Can ALL children learn to read? #2 Can children with special educational needs learn phonics? (

And that is where we come in.

Teachers have been telling us that there not enough decodable books for older beginner readers.  Especially at the very early stages of learning to read, where the sound/letter correspondences must be consolidated and the skill of blending practiced repeatedly.  We already have Moon Dogs Set 1 and Set but teachers have been telling us this is just not enough.  While young readers in mainstream schools have many different schemes of decodable books they can read - there are very few for older SEND pupils.  So - we published Moon Dogs Extras Set 1 for this audience!

The idea is to offer older, beginner readers a very gentle approach to reading CVC words introducing only a few letters at a time.  With three more books at each level, this set of books can simply be added to the Moon Dogs Set 1 series. Older beginner readers will now have 4 books to read as they make incremental, cumulative and steady progress.

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Inside pages from Moon Dogs Extras series for pupils with SEN
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These pages are from the first level where only 5 letter/sounds are introduced: s, a, t, i and m,
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#decodablebooks #strugglingreaders #sendpupils #phonicforSEN

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