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Books on the Bookshelf

Books on the bookshelf, standing there awaiting to be read whilst expecting yet another to arrive in the post soon. Escaping into a novel can be pleasant, but delving into a book for teachers is rarely so, so there it stood on the bookshelf until this rare jewel comes knocking on my door to ask for help with English, a bright high school girl who was doing well in all her subjects apart from English, she was particularly interested in improving her reading skills, which play such an important part of her schoolwork and her future ambitions.

It soon became apparent that she was lacking in word attack skills and vocabulary, so I started teaching what I love to teach— PHONICS! We covered the basics, the so called 26 ‘single letter sounds’, quickly before moving onto the ‘double letter sounds’ using the progression found in the Finding Out series by David Paul and since she was a reader of sorts already, I decided that I should combine the teaching of phonics with reading comprehension and vocabulary acquisition.

To give students confidence I like to start off with stories that match their ability to decode the text in front of them, so using special decodable readers and stories is a good way to go, but unfortunately many such books and stories claiming to be decodable are not and most, not including “A cat sat on a mat.” genre, have up to 20% of their vocabulary in high frequency irregular words, which is too high for comprehension if they are not decodable and known by the reader. The “Story Cards” found in BAH 2 CD are as near to 100% decodable as you will ever find, so we began here with reading at level 2, being as level 1 was somewhat too simple and childish for this S.H.S. student.

I thought about publishing my stories in a book format at one time but due to many reasons, including my own lack of knowledge and personal contacts, it just never happened. I almost did publish them in 2010, but since I had renamed them as “Phonic Fun” readers and worksheets, again I decided not to as that name was very similar to Greg Crawford’s Fun Phonic Readers. It’s still on my bucket list (no jumping out of planes or canoeing up the Amazon for me) and I now think the best way to get these stories and worksheets onto people’s bookshelves is to put them in a downloadable format. Here is the first story from level 2 together with its comprehension worksheet and vocabulary worksheet. The stories become progressively and phonically more complex as the students gain in their knowledge of phonics and vocabulary. 

As to my student. Well, she is still with me and has made tremendous progress in her English after going through many of my phonic fun stories (Story Cards) and worksheets. She has now advanced to a higher level of reading and phonics using the book which had sat on my shelf for so long.


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