SHORT VOWEL PHONICS I by Patricia J. Norton


: Short A, I, O, U, E
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A sound tool for teaching phonetic reading to beginners.

Family-practice physician Norton carefully designed this phonics reader to avoid many of the pitfalls that she observed while her child was learning to read and in tutoring other beginning readers. Children like repetition, and new readers in particular may have a rewarding learning experience with the author’s approach, which requires only letter-sound association and four sight words (a, is, the, has) to begin reading. Each short vowel sound stars in two independent chapters, which, at an average of six sentences each, are approachable for the earliest readers in a single sitting. As may be expected, such short chapters do not allow for an extensive plot, and the chapters are self-contained and only interrelated for the same letter. The sans-serif font, with unambiguous letter representation in a Zaner-Bloser-like style, is large and easy to read; vowel sounds are consistent and no long vowels appear; and the simple sentences employ one-syllable words. Each consonant appears within the set of stories, allowing readers to practice all sounds, including one consonant blend. Using her tutoring background, Norton knows the information the instructor will need to present before the reading starts, and this is organized in the beginning of the book: a sight-word list and new vocabulary for each chapter, new sounds and recommended method for approaching the stories. While not all words and sentences mimic daily speech or written language, the unusual words (for example, “rig” for truck, “sib” for sibling) can easily be explained and allow for the diversity of sounds contained within the book. The organization and thorough, beginner-oriented approach set the book apart from many mass-market phonics readers. Each story is accompanied by simple black-and-white line drawings on large pages.

A well thought-out, noteworthy addition to early phonics instruction.

Program: Kirkus Indie
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