‘Sound it out’

Reading decodable book

What do we mean by ‘sound it out’ and what does it entail? When a child gets stuck on a word we often remind them to ‘sound it out’. As fluent readers, we assume this is very straightforward. We recognise these words automatically and skip all the stages that beginner readers need to go through […]

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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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Why do older, struggling readers need age-appropriate books?

Older, struggling readers often have gaps in the their phonics knowledge and skills.  They find alternative spellings particularly confusing.  Many suffer from low self esteem so offering them decodable materials that are age-appropriate is vital.  Vital because if the reading materiasl can engage the disaffected reader, his/her motivation to try and read will grow.  Without […]

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Top tips for teaching phonics

Teach step-by-step You don’t need to teach the whole alphabet to get reading going. Start with just a few letters, and get children to build words from them. Phonic Books starts with ‘s’, ‘a’, ‘t’, ‘i’ and ‘m’. Work with word-building Word-building is the best way to teach reading and spelling. Write letters on cards […]

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Using morphology to teach word structure

Amber Guardians, Workbook, books 1-10

Do you have children who spell the word ‘jumped’ as ‘jumpt’, and ‘wanted’ as ‘wantid’? This is because they are listening to the sounds at the ends of words. After all, we tell them to listen to sounds when they spell. Sometimes, it is very helpful to bring a bit of morphology into the teaching […]

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What is the ‘Matthew effect’ when it comes to reading instruction?

In the context of reading instruction, the ‘Matthew effect’ is the idea that children who learn to read in the first three years of their education become increasingly fluent readers. They read more and learn more vocabulary, which enables them to even read more and comprehend more-advanced texts – so they advance further. Conversely, children […]

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Special-needs teacher reviews Moon Dogs series

Moon Dogs Series

We recently received this kind message from Rebecca Sloane, a teacher at Kingswood School House. “As a special-needs teacher who works with mainly Key Stage 2 children, I’m always looking for materials that not only interest my students but also enable them to practise the early phonics they have missed out on. The Moon Dog […]

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Adjacent consonants – why children need practice

Many children struggle when reading words with adjacent consonants. These are words that  have two consonants side by side within a word, e.g. f l a g. The leap from three-sound words (e.g. h a t) to four-sound words (e.g. l i m p) is very difficult for many beginner and struggling readers. The step […]

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What educators in the USA say about Phonic Books

In advance of our visit to the USA to the IDA conference in November, we have asked some of the educators using our books their students in the USA to tell us what they think about them. Here are some of their responses.

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Teacher uses decodable books for older readers to develop writing

A teacher has written in, sharing written work by struggling readers and writers using the Magic Belt, Totem and Talisman series. We very much appreciate this feedback. Below are the samples of work she has sent in. They include a plot summary, a book review, descriptive writing, figurative language, the rewriting of a story and […]

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