The following Science of Reading and Synthetic Phonics books have been a fantastic tool for me as I’ve expanded my phonics knowledge.
As with anything as educators, we need to be discerning and also open to merging multiple perspectives. Each book has its limitations, but I have gleaned some really useful tips, strategies and a far better understanding of the research from these books. I have linked the images below if you’d like to find out more about any of them.
I found the following books to be the most practical:
READING FOR LIFE by Lyn Stone
This book is so easy to read- I really enjoyed it! I found it to be a super helpful overview of the various components of literacy, including phonics, vocabulary and fluency. Lyn Stone outlines the US, UK and Australian government inquiries into teaching literacy in a really succinct, clear way. She also discusses mindsets that lead to the acceptance of poor practice, and the essential components of an effective literacy program. This book will provide you with a really helpful big picture understanding, and aims to help educators make informed decisions about which teaching methods to reject and select. It’s conversational and very easy to digest.
UNCOVERING THE LOGIC OF ENGLISH by Denise Eide
This book is great to have on hand as a reference tool, as over half the book contains a very thorough explanation of English spelling rules. It answers questions such as ‘Why is there a silent final E in have, large and house?’’ and ‘Why is discussion spelled with –sion rather than –tion?’. There is also an appendix which summarises the most important concepts for quick reference.
KNOW BETTER DO BETTER by David Liben & Meredith Liben
This was another very readable book, full of real-life stories which help to unpack the process of explicitly teaching students to read and write. It outlines evidence-based practices and provides lots of practical tips that you can use straight away in the classroom.
PHONICS FROM A TO Z by Wiley Blevins
The following two books by Wiley Blevins are full of practical suggestions and activities.
Phonics from A-Z outlines the most recent brain research, provides seven key characteristics of strong phonics instruction, and suggests instructional routines for accelerating student learning.
A FRESH LOOK AT PHONICS by Wiley Blevins
A Fresh Look At Phonics provides more suggestions for activities, routines and lessons, as well as ideas for differentiation and using decodable texts.
FROM SPEECH TO PRINT by Louisa Moats
This book is a lot meatier, and probably more for dipping in and out of as required.
SPELL IT OUT by David Crystal
This book doesn’t contain practical teaching strategies, but I found it fascinating to learn exactly how the English language came about!
Next on my list...
I haven’t read these books, but they come highly recommended, and they are on my list to read:
THE MEGABOOK OF FLUENCY by Tim Rasinski
HOW TO PLAN DIFFERENTIATED READING INSTRUCTION by Sharon Walpole & Michael C. McKenna
EQUIPPED FOR READING SUCCESS by David A. Kilpatrick
SHIFTING THE BALANCE by Jan Burkins & Kari Yates
BOOKS TO READ WITH KIDS
“Once Upon A Word” by Jess Zaffaris is fun way to explore the history of words. Jess also unpacks a wide range of prefixes and suffixes.
”Literally” by Patrick Skipworth is a beautifully illustrated book all about the origins of the English language.'
We encourage our students to become life-long learners, and it is so important that as teachers we do the same.