I've been using and recommending High Noon Books' Sound Out Chapter Books since before I started this blog, but recently 18 of them became available as an iPad app, so I decided it was High Time to show you them on video.
The Sound Out Chapter Books are decodable (simplified text) books for older, struggling readers. Most of the stories are about teenagers or young adults, and I've also used them with a few upper primary students.
They're mostly interesting-enough stories, insofar as it's possible to write such a thing using a restricted set of spellings, and there are a couple that my students have wanted to keep reading, to find out what happens, even after the lesson ended.
There are also a couple that contain things that make us scratch our heads here in Melbourne, like one in which after a hot morning, a fog suddenly rolls in. Melbourne is renowned for having four seasons in one day, but we've never heard of that. Maybe it happens somewhere in the US? (if anyone knows where, please tell me).
The books have six levels, each with six books:
- Level 1: One-syllable words with "short" vowels
- Level 2: One-syllable words with "long" vowels
- Level 3: One-syllable words with "short" and "long" vowels, consonant digraphs and blends.
- Level 4: One-syllable words with "short" and "long" vowels, consonant digraphs and blends, diphthongs, "silent letters" and controlled vowels.
- Level 5: One-syllable words, word endings and compound words.
- Level 6: Phonetically regular two-syllable words including words with prefixes and suffixes.
There are also six workbooks, each of which go with six books, but there isn't one workbook for each level. The A1 and A2 workbooks go with Levels 1 and 2, the B1 and B2 workbooks have nothing to do with bananas (Aussie joke, sorry) and go with Levels 3 and 4, and the C1 and C2 workbooks go with Levels 5 and 6. They must have written three books at each level first, then written the rest.
The workbooks target decoding/encoding, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. The entire kit is at the time of writing on special for $399.95 at Silvereye in NSW, and all the suppliers internationally are listed with links on the US-based High Noon Books website.
Eighteen of the books (three of the six from each level, the ones that go with the A1, B1 and C1 workbooks) are now available as an iPad app. I bought this app for about $50, but then had a couple of clients tell me they'd tried to buy it and the price was about $120, then one of them came back and said she'd bought it at the lower price, so I'm a little confused about the current Australian price, but anyway it's cheaper than the paper equivalent, especially if you can get discount iTunes cards.
That's probably enough writing about them, except to say that if you get the email version of this blog post and the video embedded below doesn't work, click here to watch it on Youtube. Here's my almost-ten-minute video about the lovely Sound Out Chapter Books and associated workbooks. IMHO every secondary school and adult literacy provider should have a set.