Ask us anything! Do kids need to have a solid knowledge of sound and symbol before they can begin to read?

Yes, they do. Sounding out words is very taxing on a beginner reader’s working memory. If we think about it – children need to recognise the shape of the letter, attach a sound to it, hold that sound in their heads, do the same for the next letters in the word, blend the sounds into […]

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Ask us anything! What phonics programme do you recommend?

There are many phonics programmes to choose from. Here is what these programmes need to offer to deliver explicit, systematic, structured, and successful reading instruction for all children. 1. Clear scope and sequence: the Alphabetic Code is complex, and it is imperative that it is introduced in a systematic way – starting with the simple […]

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How to avoid the summer reading slump!

Am edu 027

Research has shown that children lose the equivalent of one month of learning over the summer. Many children experienced learning loss during the pandemic, so it is important that we help to keep children reading throughout the summer to prevent this additional summer slide. Here are ten ideas to keep children reading over the summer […]

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How Decodable Texts Support Reading Fluency

For children to comprehend a text, they need to read it fluently. If the reading is disfluent, the reader will struggle to hold onto all the information to comprehend a sentence or paragraph. We know that reading fluency has three components, as seen above: Accuracy – children need to be able to read words accurately. […]

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How decodable books can support language comprehension

Scarborough’s Reading Rope is a wonderful theoretical framework for describing the complexity of reading and what we need to teach children in order to become fluent readers who can comprehend a text successfully. Decoding is on one branch of the rope, and language comprehension is on the other branch. These become increasingly intertwined as children […]

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Totem and Talisman Testimonial

Totem and talisman blog

In this testimonial Sharon Dheraj shares how she uses the Totem and Talisman series in her classroom. Sharon is a SENCO in a one form entry primary school as well as a specialist teacher and assessor of dyslexia. *** My day-to-day responsibilities include overseeing the operation of the SEND Policy, coordinating provisions for pupils with […]

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The Love of Reading


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 […]

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What are decodable books?

Beginner reader using a decodable book

Although systematic, synthetic phonics teaching programmes are now a mandatory part of the UK National Curriculum for schools, one of the questions we are most frequently asked is still, ‘What are decodable books?’. Phonic Books co-founder, Tami Reis-Frankfort, provides a brief clarification of the meaning of the term, and explains why decodable books are so […]

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Structured Linguistic Literacy

Dystinct magazine clair wilson

Supporting structured linguistic literacy at home with games and decodable reading books – by Clair Wilson This article was originally published in the January 2023 issue of Dystinct Magazine. Click here for free access to this issue until December 2024. Reading is one of the most important skills we want our children to learn. We […]

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Phonics is just part of the story…

I love the way Christopher Such writes about teaching reading, and if you haven’t read his book The Art and Science of Teaching Primary Reading – do.  I have found it is very accessible and really useful for busy teachers to keep up with recent research into reading instruction. What I like most about his […]

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