Reminiscent of Bob Books, these cute-as-a-button black-line books provide interesting, short stories that reinforce beginning phonics skills. Like Bob Books, stories are a brief 8 pages each with colorable pictures. Each set contains 6 small format (5½" x 4¼") readers focusing on a particular skill. In the back of each reader are three lists of the words used in the reader: words practicing the concept, high-frequency words, and other words. Many of the high-frequency words are sight words that can be learned right along with the phonetic words. The first three sets concentrate on consonant sounds. While they do contain simple words, you would read these to your child as they learn letter sounds. Set One introduces "b" through "h" ("c" and "k" share a book since they share a sound), Set Two covers "j" through "q", and Set Three finishes with "r" through "z". The short vowel pack has a book for each vowel with the sixth book a review of short "a" and short "o" together. While the bulk of the words in the readers are short vowel words, they are not strictly controlled. You might want to preview the word lists in the back of each to determine which sight words you want to introduce and which words your child may need help with. Long Vowel readers include a book for each vowel plus a combination book. These use a variety of phonograms to practice the skill. For example, the long i book has words with i_e, ie, y, igh, and i as in shiny that all say long i. The final Blends and Digraphs Set contains a book each on st, cr, sh, gr, ch and "l" blends (fl, cl, sl, gl, fl, spl). Each book includes a "Create your own book!" activity at the end, using the story as a springboard for a creative writing endeavor. These are quite imaginative and varied, providing an additional opportunity to practice the focal phonics skill through writing. In the consonants books the writing part is limited (since the child is just learning letter sounds) to providing a few words within a writing frame or finding pictures or words beginning with the appropriate letter. Later activities progress to brief stories or poems of the child's own. Using these writing responses in tandem with the readers would be a pertinent, natural way to introduce written expression to the beginning reader.
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