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Starfall Learn to Read Phonics Book Set: Zac the Rat and Other Tales

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Genre: Junior Books / Author: The Starfall Team / Paperback / Reading Level: Ages 4-8 / Book is published 2005-04 by Starfall Publication

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      12.06.2010 15:57
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      Nice extra set of phonic readers.

      Ages 4-7
      Illustrations: Good
      Educational: Yes, phonic readers set.
      Story Quality: Pretty Good

      This set of phonic readers has much better illustrations, as well as better stories then the BOB books ( another well known series of phonics books). I have reviewed previously. They also start out easy and progress to harder levels, but the progression is much faster in this series. The sentences are much longer even in the first book, but the illustrations clearly show what is going on in the text allowing a child to guess at unknown words with a fair level of accuracy. The first five books in this series use only short vowel sounds, with long vowels being introduced in book six.

      This set contains 15 paperback titles, starting with Zac the Rat, which is based on the soft a sound. It is quite a simple story about Zac, a can of jam and some ants. Book 4, Mox's Shop introduces letter blends. Book 6, Jake's Tale is a cute story about a bird and a whale and focuses on the hard A sound. this is the first use of long vowels. By book 14, Surfer Girl, the words are becoming much more complex, and the final book My Family is a cute story about a monster's new baby sister and focuses on the sound of y as a word ending.

      All in all, I find this a really lovely set, and much more fun to read then the BOB books, but I also feel the progression is simply to fast to teach a child to read solely from these. They are wonderful as an add on to another reading programme, or for a bit of extra help in phonics for the child who is learning to read in school. As an added plus though, there is a complementary site: http://www.starfall.com/ where you can read or listen to the whole set of books online for free as well as try several other educational games and activities. This also allows you to see if the books will suit you before buying them.

      I would recommend these books for families who already own another, more complete phonics set, or for children who have learned to read with whole language and need a brief introduction to phonics, but I would not expect to teach a child to read solely from this set.

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