I am one who sees a book title of ‘Fun with…’, ‘It’s fun to…’ that’s connected to learning as I always feel slightly hoodwinked. I know this isn’t going to be fun and the boys know this too but having said that I have come across a simple few books that are really great for early readers called ‘Fun with Phonics’ and my boys have really got on well with them.
I have 2 boys learning to read at the same time as they are only an academic year apart so Tobes is learning his sounds and beginning to blend them into 3 letter words and Hen is blending well, learning more sounds and can read some words straight off. I’ve had trouble with Tobes leaning over my shoulder when Hen reads after school (we have a 3/4hr wait on the car for my eldest son to finish so we read in this time) as he can already do some simple words and this really annoys Henry who gets stressed and cross and, I think, he feels a little embarrassed that his little brother should be doing these things. It’s hard with 3 children to send one off to another room to play whilst you do something with just one of them and doing this immediately sparks curiosity in the sent off child as if they’re being sent off then surely it’s something worth knowing about?
So far the compromise is that Hen ‘reads’ the books and then he and Tobes take it in turns to find sounds or words that I ask them. They are great at finding how many ‘t’s’ there are on a page, they can point to a ‘sh’ sound and they love getting the highlighter out to highlight sounds in fabulous colours for everyone to see (I use Read, Write Inc paper books especially so we can write, draw, underline in the books making them more than just a reading book) Hen is calmer and Tobes feels like he’s joining in and we’re all less stressed as a result. Hen feels he’s the bigger boy and this has really spurned him on to be better for himself -and to beat Tobes!
This set of books is great if you just need to use them as something simple to read that isn’t Oxford Reading Tree or a scheme book. Hen feels like he’s reading ‘real’ books and this has made him start to look at his own books at home especially the picture books as they have large prints and simple words that he can decode. I do find that some of the phonic books available have strange rhymes and stories that either are odd or just don’t make sense and finding simple books that Hen can read that teach him something whilst making sense are few and far between. He loves the Read, Write Inc books as they are all stand alone stories with different characters which is more akin to real reading.
I like the stories of these books but I also like the wheel on the side that you can turn to make the words with the focussed sound on the page. Tobes listens to Henry read and then he gets to make the ‘og’ (hog, dog, log etc) word which is his turn in the spotlight. He’s learning his letters, blending and can use the picture above to check he’s right so it’s a real win win for us.
They are large books so I’m not sure we’ll use them in the car -we have a Mini- but in the house they are great and I can use them again with Tobes when he’s reading for himself and maybe Hen can then write sentences with the words you make with the wheel as he’ll be further on too.
A good buy, very reasonably priced that you can use again with different ages and abilities of children.
Here they are from Amazon -second hand