Thursday, March 15, 2007

Review: Little Stories for Little Folks

Little Stories for Little Folks: Catholic Phonics Readers by Nancy Nicholson

Third Edition 2004, Catholic Heritage Curricula. $26.95. Pre-K through 1st grade: 4 levels, 45 stories to fold into booklets, bound Parents' Guide, Silly Willy Sentences activity, and Catholic flashcards on stiff cardstock.
Reviewed by Ana Braga-Henebry, M.A.

Our third child, now a deep voiced high schooler towering me by several inches, learned to read with me when he was five years old using these little folding readers. This new edition has a new cover and some additional materials, but the readers themselves are the very same I used ten years ago! He looked at these the other day and could remember many of the stories.

The bulk of this program consists of four levels of readers that we tear out and fold in four. I made color coded envelopes out of construction paper ten years ago, the same envelope I am using with our youngest this year. I tucked the envelopes in a pocket folder, and as we folded and read each little book, it was neatly stored.

The little books follow a simple sequence of phonetic sounds, beginning with the "short a" in the first title At Mass. What we like about these is the fact that we begin from day one reading a little story. None of my children enjoyed very much reading pages of words in other readers. These have a few new words displayed on the little book's cover, but each little book is one independent whole story. These mini-stories are delightfully Catholic, and succeed in being at the same time funny and suspenseful enough!

This latest edition has a nice new glossy cover and several cardstock pages with phonics strips and illustrated phonetic sound cards to cut. Silly Willy Sentences strip are also included, introducing basic syntax concepts. A separate Parent's guide booklet is included, with simple guidelines for teaching to read with this program, and booklet-by-booklet directions for introducing the new sounds and words.

Available from Catholic Heritage Curricula

From the author: "Teaching word families is probably the most gratifying way for a child to quickly discover that there are patterns to words and that they can read a LOT of words even when they are just beginning. Nothing breeds success like success! Drill, with the exception of flashcards in the pre-reading stage, can seem so pointless and dry to the child that it is almost self-defeating. They want to READ! The best way to practice sounds is within words within sentences within interesting, short stories!"

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