Phonics Handbook

By Tom Nicholson, Professor of Literacy Education at Massey University, NZ

Reviewer. Ruth Fielding-Barnsley, Associate Professor of Literacy Education, University of Tasmania
Published by Wiley & Sons,  2006

There are certain topics that I look for when I review yet another book on phonics and this one has the lot. If you will excuse the analogy to a book referring to medicinal drugs it really is a pharmacopoeia!

One thing that I look for is a good coverage on Assessment. This book gives very clear guidelines on what children need to know and more importantly when children should be expected to know these skills.

Not many books in this category include the importance of parental involvement and the importance of keeping parents 'in the loop' when it comes to reporting on their progress.
Children's attitude to reading is also covered and this is another important aspect of reading that is often omitted in books of this kind.
This book is very well organised and teachers or tutors should be able to work though it without having to refer to other texts on phonics. There are exercises relating to every aspect of phonics and the author has gone to extreme lengths to cover such skills as articulatory awareness; another very important skill and one that is not covered adequately in most texts.
Only one negative comment and that is the format in which the book is presented. The title indicates that it is a handbook but you would need very large hands to handle this book!
All in all this is a must for anyone involved in the teaching of reading

In conclusion I suggest that children who have been taught using the Phonics Handbook will be able to spell and read 'pharmacopoeia' very early in their school careers.

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