The Synthetic Phonics Practice Books
The Practice Books are a precursor to decodable stories. They ensure synthetic phonics skills are easy and automatic by giving lots of practice using the widest range of decodable vocabulary.
Why Practice Books Before a Decodable Story?
Think about the levelled guided reading books you use and ask yourself:
- Is there phonic code that children have not learned yet?
- Are children sounding out to read or simply guessing from the pictures?
- Are children getting another opportunity to practice that particular set of phonemes?
- Are children getting the message that reading is a guessing game or a problem solving activity?
- What knowledge of basic punctuation is needed? Do children know what to do when they see a full stop, comma, speech marks?
- Are there irregular, high frequency words (camera words) that children do not know?
Before moving onto a Decodable Story ensure Synthetic Phonics skills are automatic
Have a look inside a practice book. Notice the interesting vocabulary included and how many opportunities for practice of the phonemes children get. You will also see that the comprehension demands on children are limited. Why?
Children's working memory, when learning to blend new phonemes is already being used to capacity. Yes, use decodable stories, but let's first make sure children's synthetic phonics skills are automatic before we add additional reading demands too.
Systematically introduce other reading skills
As children move through the series they are systematically introduced to simple comprehension skills: fluency, punctuation and knowledge of sentence structure. As the three series progress and children become more fluent in their decoding, they are able to put into practice both reading and comprehension skills side-by-side – but it is the practice books that get them reading first!
Learning TO Read
Learning ABOUT Reading
Learning THROUGH Reading
Use from day one of learning to read
The practice books are learning TO read books. They require children to apply and practice what has been learned in shared reading sessions. The books get children holding a book from the very first day they learn to read. There is no need to wait until a large set of reading skills have been learned before children experience the joy of reading their very first book. They reinforce children's first experience of independent book handling skills, that words contain meaning and that we read left to right.
See the Decodable Practice Books in Action
Want some guidance about how to use the books in your classroom? Speak to consultant Katherine Wood, telephone 02 8003 3847 or send an enquiry.