Sunday, September 8, 2013

From Phonics to Reading


For kids who have know phonics and are ready to start reading, Usborne has published a nice set of easy to read books. The program is called Usborne Very First Reading. These books are an absolute must for any parent who wishes their child to get a head-start in reading before they start their schools (which in the UK, happens in the September following the 4th birthday of the child).

What's so great about these books for children?

There are 15 hardback books in the entire series. There are so many nice things about these books but the core concept is "reading together." Usborne has been very creative with these books, and they are not just your typical dumb stories created out of simple phonics.

  • The pages on the left-side are read by adult and the child reads the right-side. Usborne has carefully designed these books so that the difficulty level gradually increases with each book.
  • The story unfolds only when the right-hand side page is ready. While the left-hand side only provides a general context. That is, the adult provides the background and the child makes the story more interesting. See the above picture for an example.
  • The pictures are wonderfully drawn. The pictures provide a lot of context for general discussion, and hence make this an engaging experience for the grown-up and the child.

Here is some more information on how the series works.

Should I buy just a single book?

Now, if you are thinking of buying this, may I make a few suggestions? Individual books from the set of 15 are priced around £4.00 on Amazon.com. The complete set is priced at £74.85 on Usborne. You can buy individual books, specially the first book of the series in order to see if this is really for you.


Best Bargain!

But if you are already convinced that you must buy the entire set, the best place to buy is ebay. A brand new complete set is available for an astonishing price of around £25.00!