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Oxford Reading Tree: Stage 2: Songbirds: The Odd Pet - Julia Donaldson

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Genre: Junior Books / Author: Julia Donaldson, Clare Kirtley / Paperback / 16 Pages / Book is published 2008-01-10 by OUP Oxford

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      04.12.2010 21:52
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      A great way of encouraing children to use phonic skills

      I have previously recommended the Oxford Reading Tree Songbirds PHonics Stage 1+ phonics book in a previous review, and I am now reviewing one of the books in the Stage 2 Songbirds Phonics Series, which takes children a step further, a little beyond the decoding of cvc (consonant vowel consonant) words that they had practiced in the Stage 1 book.

      As I have mentioned previously, there are limited resources on the market in terms of reading books, that aim to teach children to read using primarily phonics as they learn them - rather than having stories which reuiqre children to recognise all of the major sounds to decode. CHildren need to be motivated from the very beginning when learning phonics, and need to be putting these into practice straight away, if they are to mean anything to them, otherwise they often fail to see the link between phonics and reading.

      This is one of the reasons that I love this material provided by Oxford REading Tree - yes the stories may be a little daft, but they are bright and colourful, and short enough, that children wont lose attention during reading. These books have all been exceptionally well written by Julia Donaldson including this particular book 'The Odd Pet'.

      As I said, this book is part of the STage 2 series which includes 6 books:
      The Odd Pet
      Miss!Miss!
      THis and THat
      Fish and CHips
      Singing Dad
      Doctor Duck

      Those who are familiar with phonics will be able to see at a glance, some of the sounds that are being focused on in each book, simply from the title. 'THe Odd Pet' continues to focus on cvc decoding with the added element of the ending -s being added onto cvc words.

      The front of this book shows a colourful picture of this odd pet, that the story talks about - an animal with7 legs, beak and fluffy tail, which is scurrying along. Inside this book we meet the characters 'Kim', 'Viv' and 'Jim' - excellent easy names to decode!! The first page of the story informs us that 'Kim has a cat. Jim has a dog'. It is Viv however that has the 'odd pet' which is called a 'zog' (I did say that the books were completely daft at times - but children seem to love them!).

      Within the text on most pages, there are a few keywords that you would expect most children to recognise such as 'is' and 'it' (though even these are decodable) and 'now' (which they may need help with)

      We then find out what this 'zog' pet can and can't do, with words such as 'eggs' and 'sits' for children to decode, with that added -s ending. When zog has lots of little baby zogs, soon Kim and Jim get their own zog as well, to play with alongside their own pet.

      These books really are perfect for those children at the early stages of learning phonics - but they obviously need to be beyond simply recognsing single sounds. They will give children a sense of achievement when they are actually able to read an entire book by themselves.

      I can't praise these books enough, and if you have a child who is learning phonics then these are the perfect series of books, which are available on the wider market, to encourage your child to make use of their new phonic skills, which will be of benefit to them for a lifetime!

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