How important is it to cultivate the love of reading in children?
Decodable books are an essential part of a structured literacy approach, but they have a specific purpose. They are decodable exercises which students can use to practise the phonics skills they have learned. They are not designed to compete with the huge variety of elaborate, rich and wonderful children’s literature. With these books in their hands, children can disappear, through the power of their own imagination, into magical worlds of forests and fantasy, spaceships and spies, jungles, journeys, jellyfish and jumbo jets.
On St Valentine’s Day, to celebrate the love of reading, the Phonic Books’ staff were asked to cast their minds back to their childhood, and choose one book which made an impact on them. Below, we share the stories they picked and the qualities that made them so special.
My favourite book when I was younger was ‘The Wizard of Oz’ by Lyman Frank Baum. One of the things I love the most about reading to this day is how it can act as a form of escapism and I think I loved this book so much as a child as it was the first book I found to be so immersive and which kept my undivided attention.
– Bryony Brain
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I loved ‘The Little Princess’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I loved the idea of waking up to a transformed room!
– Clare Howe
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My favourite childhood book was ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ by Roald Dahl. I love this story because of the magical world full of sweets and chocolate, of course, but also because Willie Wonka is such a cheeky character. I absolutely loved that as a child.
– Syreeta Muir
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My favourite was ‘Anansi the spider’ by Gerald McDermot. I’ve always loved folklore and mythology in general and Anansi is embedded in West African folklore as the tricky spider god who makes up for his lack of physical size by outsmarting all his opponents. He had an answer for everything, was cunning, smart and did lots of mischievous things. In essence every young boy’s blueprint!
– Obi Onuora
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I loved ‘Pippi Longstocking’ by Astrid Lindgren. What a resourceful girl! She basically decided everything for herself, as her pirate father was almost always absent – including that school was not for her.
– Tami Reis-Frankfort
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There were so many books that were special to me, but the one I returned to over and over again, until the pages were all stuck back in with yellowing tape, was Spike Milligan’s ‘Silly Verse for Kids’. This was my first tangle with poetry, and I loved the way Spike played with words for fun. His rhymes were meant to be read aloud and just the sound of the silly words could always make me laugh.
“On the Ning Nang Nong
Where the cows go Bong!
and the monkeys all say BOO!
There’s a Nong Nang Ning
Where the trees go Ping!
And the teapots jibber jabber joo.”
– Katie Taylor
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The book that springs to mind which I just loved so much when I was little was ‘A Necklace of Raindrops’ by Joan Aiken illustrated by Jan Penkowsi. I thought the stories , like the one about a tiger that runs faster than the wind, were so exciting and so funny and the way that the pictures are all black silhouettes against swirling marbled colours just amazed me.
– Clair Wilson
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A favourite of mine from my early youth was ‘Earthsea Trilogy’ by Ursula LeGuinn. I burned through this series with relish, fascinated by the otherworldly adventures of Ged and the enigmatic shadow that pursued him. These books still hold up today. I was lucky really as we read the Hobbit at school when I was eight and then I read Lord of the Rings by ten. I hardly read any fantasy now, but it obviously had an influence on my future.
– Drew Wilson
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#decodablebooks #lovereading #earlyreaders #scienceofreading #literacyforall #storytime
To begin cultivating a love of reading in your children – check out Phonic Books’ range of exciting and engaging stories for beginner and older readers.