These downloadable books are published by SPELD SA and are free to use. Go to www.speld-sa.org au
The books are grouped in a developing order based on the order of sounds introduced in the Jolly Phonics early literacy program, www.jollylearning.co.uk.
Each book is published with suggestions on how parents, tutors and teachers can get the most out of the book.
SPELD (SA) phonic books (online flash version) require the Adobe Flash player to be installed. You may need to wait a moment for the book to load. Navigate each book with the buttons provided at the base of the book or by dragging the corner of each page across. An enlarged view of each page is possible by clicking on the page.
The printable versions of these phonic books have been designed so that once printed, the pages can be folded in half to create an A5 book.
Here is a description of the SPELD (SA) phonic books by speech therapist, Alison Clarke.
Print them out or read them on a computer or tablet
Given my history of mixing lunch with work, and of lending stuff out to clients, I know that sooner or later I will spill my coffee or some beetroot on one of my nice new $7 books, a younger sibling will rip one, and then I'd lend a couple of them to someone who will promise to return them, but never get around to doing so.
If I print the SPELD-SA books and then they get ripped or stuff spilt on them, or aren't returned, I can just print replacements. Very, very cool.
The other marvellous thing about these books is that as well as their printable pdf versions, there are pdf versions designed to be read on an iPad or tablet, and a Flash version to be read on Windows computers, thus making them more portable/easy to store, and saving trees. Double hooray.
Tips for parents/helpers and comprehension questions
Each book also contains a section called "How to get the most out of this book" for parents and other support people, which tells you which sounds the book targets, lists any words in the book with trickier spellings needing to be learnt first, and includes some comprehension questions to talk about after you've finished reading. These take us up to about six cheers.
Funny content and early success
Decodable books get a bad rap for not having interesting stories, but these books include humour young learners will understand and appreciate, like Ann's Pants Snap, Eek, it's a Bee! and When Santa's Sled Hit a Blimp.
Anyway, the point of these books is not to replace quality children's literature, which literate adults can and should read to children (but remember that 17% of adults are not literate, a fact the "just read to your children and they will magically read too" brigade conveniently ignores).
The point of decodable books is to give children an opportunity to read something successfully (i.e. at least nine out of ten words correct – imagine how long you'd persist with reading if you were getting one in ten words wrong) and thus gradually build their skills and confidence to the point where they can tackle quality children's literature, and all sorts of other reading, themselves.
Congratulations to SPELD-SA, and the Thyne-Reid Foundation, which has funded this wonderful gift to learners everywhere, and particularly to those who struggle to learn literacy.