New decodable books for ‘o as in love’ and ‘a’ as in ‘ball’

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The spellings ‘o’ as in ‘love’ and ‘a’ as in ‘ball’ are in many words young children try to write. ‘One’, ‘love’, ‘some’, ‘once’, ‘all’, and ‘called’ are in the first 100 words on the Oxford Wordlist, ‘brother’, ‘other’, ‘come’, ‘water’, ‘also’, and ‘ball’, are in the 2nd 100, ‘won’ is number 206 and ‘small’ is number 228. *

However, these spelling patterns are often taught quite late in phonics teaching sequences. Many words containing these spellings are in early decodable book ‘tricky words’ lists.

Two new download-and-print Phonics With Feeling books allow children to practise words with these spellings, and notice the patterns in how they’re used: ‘love’, ‘dove’, ‘shove’, ‘glove’, ‘some’, ‘come’, ‘done’, ‘none’, ‘won’, ‘son’, ‘other’, ‘brother’, ‘mother’, ‘honey’, ‘money’ and ‘monkey, and ‘all’, ‘ball’, ‘call’, ‘fall’, ‘hall’, ‘mall’, ‘tall’, ‘wall’, ‘stall’, and ‘small’.

These new books expand the Extended Code Set 1 from three to five books. They otherwise contain only Initial Code spellings, plus the small number of ‘tricky words’ listed at the start of each book for pre-teaching. This means skilled teachers can slot them into phonics teaching sequences without introducing other, more difficult sound-spelling relationships.

The Monkeys’ Wedding

In Zulu, a sunshower is called umshado wezinkawu, meaning ‘monkey’s wedding’, so in some parts of Africa and the Caribbean, people say it’s a monkey’s wedding when the sun appears during rain. The new Phonics With Feeling Extended Code Set 1 book ‘The Monkeys’ Wedding’ is a cute, rhyming story of two monkeys in love whose wedding is almost spoilt by rain:

As well as giving children decoding and vowel-flexing practice, I love that this book offers an opportunity to discuss idioms, and that the idiom it refers to comes from a language and culture many English-speakers know little about.

Author and illustrator Gaia (AKA Teresa) Dovey has excelled herself with this book’s illustrations. The monkeys look fluffy enough to pat, and there are some gleefully naughty-looking little ones.

Up The Wall

The second new Extended Code Set 1 book, ‘Up The Wall’, also presents an opportunity to discuss literal and figurative meanings. It begins with a mother telling her children they’re driving her up the wall playing soccer in the hall, so they decide to go to the mall where there is a climbing wall. One child races to the top of the wall but then freezes, afraid he’ll fall. His mother must literally go up the wall to coax him, red-faced, back down. This series is not called Phonics With Feeling for nothing!

Free quizzes, and free upgrade if you have EC Set 1 already

Quizzes about these and all the other Phonics With Feeling books are available free on Wordwall, or you can download them here. Use them as is, or put some or all questions into Kahoots or other formats to suit your learners. There’s been a slight edit to the first Extended Code Set 1 book, Nancy Visits the City, which is reflected in its updated quiz, and a few other improvements across other books in the series.

Everyone who bought the original Extended Code Set 1 when it had only three books has been sent the new set of five books and updated quizzes via We Transfer. If that includes you, please download the files quickly, before the transfer expires, and let us know if you have difficulty.

Print up to 5 books @ 40c per copy, or up to 30 books @ 20c per copy

All the Phonics With Feeling books are available in either parent/aide sets (print up to 5 copies for 40c per print) or bulk teacher/clinician sets (print up to 30 copies for 20c per print). You provide the paper/card, printer and time printing and assembling them, so please factor these into your ‘is this good value?’ decision-making.

The Phonics With Feeling books aren’t for absolute beginners, as there are already plenty of good decodable books available for them. Some children will be able to read them towards the end of their first year of school, but they’re mostly for children in their second or third year of school, or slightly older catch-up learners.

More information about these books, including how to print and assemble them, can be found in this 2021 blog post. There is also an author interview here, and information about each book’s title, target spelling(s), number of words and plot in its entry in the Spelfabet shop. If you don’t already have the free sample book, it’s here.

* In the first 200 Oxford words containing a one-letter ‘o’ spelling, it is pronounced as in ‘got’ 15 times, as in ‘love’ 8 times, as in ‘so’ 7 times and as in ‘to’ 5 times.


2 responses to “New decodable books for ‘o as in love’ and ‘a’ as in ‘ball’”

  1. Emma Killey says:

    Which of your books have the spelling sound of (I’m new to this this so excuse my ignorance) /ar/ as in father?

    Kind regards,

    • alison says:

      Hi Emma, my workbook 5 has two spellings of /ar/, ‘ar’ as in ‘art’ and ‘a’ as in ‘past’. They are written from an Australian accent point of view, so my accent might not be the same as yours, though. Hope that’s helpful, Alison

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