Learning to Read: Songbird Series

I love to read. I was always a quiet child and often had my nose in a book. While Pip isn’t at all a quiet child, she does seem to have picked up the same love of books. She’s always been very enthusiastic about reading and that made teaching her at home simple and really enjoyable. Her reading level, according to teachers, is now where they’d expect her to be at the beginning of Year 1 and it’s definitely her biggest strength.

The only problem was that she often became frustrated when she gets stuck on a word and, after attempting to read it herself, has to ask me. I tell her the word, explain any tricky grammar which made the word hard for her and move on. But after that, she’s always a bit unhappy and less likely to really try with any other words she doesn’t immediately know but that usually she could work out on her own. If she makes more than one mistake or struggles more than once in a book, she’ll more than likely ask to stop altogether. I realised that what she needed were books that she could read entirely without much help from me.

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So I was really pleased when she was given the Songbird set of reading books for Christmas. They are all written by Julia Donaldson, who we already know and love for The Gruffulo, The Gruffalo’s Child and Monkey Puzzle, amongst many others. They are structured in stages so that the child can progress as they learn, at their own pace. The stages are colour coded so it’s easy for Pip to choose a book of her level on her own. They are really nice stories but told in small, easily read words and phrases. The illustrations are all great and by a variety of artists and in different styles which adds a bit of interest.

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Pip began reading the First Stage books and was so proud of herself when she read an entire book by herself for the first time. Now we try to read one book every day, either from the set or one that she brings home from school. She really enjoys it and its lovely to see her actually enjoying the story rather than struggling with reading. You migt notice that some of our copies have gold stars on – that’s our reward system, Pip gets a gold star every time she reads a book without any help. I don’t want to rush her but I think I’m going to start introducing the second stage books now. I’ve had a look at them and I really think she’s ready for it.

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I can’t recommend this set enough for any child learning to read – they’re just brilliant!

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