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How To End The Reading Book Struggle (And Engage Your Students In Reading Again) Part Two

A few weeks ago I shared with you a series of catch up reading books that I’ve been using with my students. I wanted to delve a bit further into…

A few weeks ago I shared with you a series of catch up reading books that I’ve been using with my students.

I wanted to delve a bit further into these books and show you some of the different series available as well as the workbooks and how I use them with my students.

Magic Belt Series

I’ve been using the Magic Belt books with three of my students, one girl and two boys. The girl has finished reading the whole series, and she couldn’t wait to get each new book.

How To End The Reading Book Struggle (And Engage Your Students In Reading Again) Part Two | topnotchteaching.com

Description

The Magic Belt reading series is designed for students aged 8-14 years and that have some prior knowledge of the sounds and letters of the alphabet. There are 12 books in this series with each book having a different sound focus. The phonic progression is as follows:

Book 1 The Man in the Mist: VCC and CVCC

Book 2 Ten Rocks: CVCC

Book 3 “Help Us!”: CVCC

Book 4 The Clam: CCVC and suffix –ed

Book 5 Crabs!: CCVCC

Book 6 Crunch: Spellings <ch> and <tch>

Book 7 Hush!: ‘sh’

Book 8 The Sixth Rock: <th>

Book 9 Golem of Rocks: <ck> and <qu>

Book 10 Dung!: ‘ng’

Book 11 The Spitting Pot: <wh> and suffix –ing

Book 12 The Simple Plot: <le>

How I use the books

I use the reading books to consolidate what the student has been learning in tutoring sessions. I also like the way this series follow the progression of sounds from the program I’m using: Sounds-Write.

The students and I always read a book together first, before I send it home for students to practice. I also send home some of the activities from the workbook to help students practice the words and focus sound from the book. Some of the types of activities in the workbook include:

  • Word building;
  • Reading and spelling words;
  • Comprehension questions;
  • Full circle game: playing with sounds;
  • Reading and writing captions;
  • Sequencing the store;
  • Fill in the missing words;
  • Writing frame;
  • Punctuation; and
  • Stepping stones game.

What I like

There is much to like about this series of books. Some of the parts I like the most include:

  • The sound focus follows a similar progression to the Sounds-Write program;
  • It includes words in the beginning that follow the sound focus of the book and that students can practice reading;
  • The vocabulary section – each book introduces new vocabulary. This section explains what the words mean in the context of the book;
  • How it splits multisyllabic words into syllables; and
  • The illustrations.

What the students say

I asked one of my students what he liked about this series, he responded:

“I like the adventure of the book and it has really nice pictures.”

His response makes me smile because so many beginning reading books that struggling readers are able to read have a very simple plot as well as basic pictures, which does not inspire older students. I have used this series with students aging in age from 7 to 11, and they all like the books. The students are able to read the books independently, they’re engaging and they have some very detailed illustrations.

Below is a copy of the reflection sheet that one of my students completed after finishing the series.

 

How To End The Reading Book Struggle (And Engage Your Students In Reading Again) Part Two | topnotchteaching.com

 

How To End The Reading Book Struggle (And Engage Your Students In Reading Again) Part Two | topnotchteaching.com

Alba Series

Out of all of the series that I have seen so far, this one is my favourite. One of my student’s Mums also mentioned that she looks forward to her daughter bringing home each new book, as she’s intrigued to find out if that pip makes it to safety.

How To End The Reading Book Struggle (And Engage Your Students In Reading Again) Part Two | topnotchteaching.com

Description

The Alba reading series is also designed for older students, and that would benefit from starting at the beginning of the phonic code: CVC and CVCC words. It follows the story of Alba, who has been shrunk to just 10cm by a mad scientist. The scientist wants to own the last apple pip in the world, so Alba has many adventures trying to get the pip to safety.

There are also 12 books in this series with each book having a different sound focus. The phonic progression is as follows:

Book 1 Lost: CVC and CVCC

Book 2 The Plan: CCVC

Book 3 Alba Slips Up: CCVCC

Book 4 Hot Chips For Lunch: ‘sh’, ‘ch’ and ‘th’

Book 5 A Bit of Luck: ‘ck’, ‘ng’, ‘qu’, ‘wh’, ‘le’ -ed

Book 6 A Brave Escape: ‘ae’, spellings: ay ai a a-e

Book 7 Apple Trees: ‘ee’, spellings: ee ea y ey e

Book 8 The Long Road Home: ‘oe’, spellings: o ow oa o-e

Book 9 Supper: ‘er’, spellings: er ir ur

Book 10 Howling Wind: ‘ow’, spellings: ow ou

Book 11 River Flight: ‘ie’, spellings: igh y ie i-e

Book 12 The Truth: ‘oo’, spellings: oo u u-e ew

How I use the books

I also use this series in a similar way to the Magic Belt set. The books are read during a tutoring session and then also sent home for practice. When I introduce the book in a session we always complete a pre-reading activity first, which comes from the workbook. This is either the word building or reading and spelling words.

I also only ever introduce the book after we have learnt the specific focus of the book. This ensures that the student will have success with reading the book independently, which helps to build their confidence.

Some of the types of activities in the workbook include:

  • Word building;
  • Reading and spelling words;
  • Timed reading;
  • Reading accuracy;
  • Reading practice for 2 syllable words;
  • 4 in a row game;
  • Comprehension questions;
  • True or false;
  • Picture the scene;
  • Alba’s diary;
  • New words;
  • Postcard home;
  • Punctuation; and
  • Stepping stones game.

What I like

I think the best part of the Alba series is that it is geared towards the girls. There is a female heroine, and my female students respond well to this.

What the students say

I was chatting with one of my girls the other day, and she said that she likes this series better than the Magic Belt series. She said she likes it because,

“It has a girl heroine. I like when she turned small and how it keeps on continuing as a series. I like the detailed pictures.”

Below are examples of some of the completed activity sheets from the workbook.

How To End The Reading Book Struggle (And Engage Your Students In Reading Again) Part Two | topnotchteaching.com

Totem Series

This series of reading books is all about the kid and monsters. There’s a sand spirit, a Cha-pac-ab-ra, a cyclops, a snake, a bird and many more.

How To End The Reading Book Struggle (And Engage Your Students In Reading Again) Part Two | topnotchteaching.com

Description

The Totem series is fantastic for older boys. My 11 year old boy enjoys this series and can’t wait to see what monster is coming up next.

Again this set is designed for older students and precedes another series, the Talisman Series. This means that the Totem series introduces the specific sounds, and then the Talisman Series consolidates the spellings as well as extends further.

There are 12 books in this series with each book having a different sound focus. The phonic progression is as follows:

Book 1 The Kidnap: CVC and CVCC

Book 2 The Gift: CCVC

Book 3 On the Brink of Death: CCVCC

Book 4 The Shadow on the Cliffs: ‘sh’, ‘ch’ and ‘th’

Book 5 Bad Luck: ‘ck’, ‘ng’, ‘qu’, ‘wh’, ‘le’ -ed

Book 6 Dangers on the Plain: ‘ae’, spellings: ay ai a a-e

Book 7 Valley of Dreams: ‘ee’, spellings: ee ea y ey e

Book 8 The Monster Below: ‘oe’, spellings: o ow oa o-e

Book 9 Murky Waters: ‘er’, spellings: er ir ur

Book 10 Danger All Around: ‘ow’, spellings: ow ou

Book 11 Jungle Fright: ‘ie’, spellings: igh y ie i-e

Book 12 Hooves!: ‘oo’, spellings: oo u u-e ew

How I use the books

Again these books are used during tutoring sessions as well as sent home for consolidation and practice.

Some of the types of activities in the workbook include:

  • Phoneme addition;
  • Reading practice cards;
  • Splitting 2 syllable words;
  • Story plan;
  • Comprehension questions;
  • True or false;
  • What’s missing?;
  • Cloze activities;
  • New words;
  • Book review; and
  • Stepping stones game.

What I like

I think the best part of the Totem series are all the gruesome monsters. These books and the monsters are just so appealing to the older boys.

What the students say

When I tutored my 11 year old boy the other day, he said, “When can we read the new book?” It’s so nice to see older boys asking to read books. I asked him what he liked about the books and this was his response,

“I like them because they’re fun and adventurous. The monsters add a twist in the book. My favourite book so far has been Valley of Dreams, because I liked how Mim and Zak looked as they fell asleep.”

Below are examples of some of the completed activity sheets from the workbook.

How To End The Reading Book Struggle (And Engage Your Students In Reading Again) Part Two | topnotchteaching.com

More Books

As you can tell I think these books are pretty top notch :-). Make sure you head over to the PhonicBooks website as they also have beginning reading books for new readers as well as board games and ideas for teens and adults.

Stay tuned next week as I’ve got an awesome reading book giveaway happening.

For more on teaching reading see these:

Graphic & Font Credits: Graphics from the Pond

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