Avian Advice: Word Bird Books for Early Bird Readers
When beginning readers have problems decoding the mysteries of English phonics (as did Marvin in Marvin One Too Many, in my post last week) homeschooling or simply concerned parents can find assistance for their children from the emergent readers' books by Jane Moncure, particularly her Word Bird series.
Word Bird's Short Vowel Adventures take the beginner through some of the most troublesome of decoding problems, the short vowels. In these five books Moncure's Word Bird interacts with an animal friend whose name uses the short vowel in question--Cat, Hen, Pig, Dog, and Duck. For example, in Word Bird Makes Words with Hen, Word Bird's Papa brings her a short "e" word puzzle set and she quickly puts together initial consonants (t + en) to form words and puts them to hands-on use to reinforce the combination, counting to ten and writing ten with a p-en. Just as she combines h + en, her friend Hen comes over to play and they make e + gg and go on to make an Easter egg tree--and a m + e + ss! When they spell ch + est, they pull out a chest full of sh + ells. Finally, when it begins to snow outside, they spell sl + ed and decide go down the hill t + en times and come in with cheeks r + ed from the cold. Additional short e combinations on the last page reinforce the sound associations with the short "e."
The Short Vowel Adventures also includes Word Bird Makes Words with Cat, Word Bird Makes Words with Pig,Word Bird Makes Words with Dog, and Word Bird Makes Words with Duck.
For more short lessons, take a look at Word Bird's Holiday Words, with word books for Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, or Word Bird's Seasons, with a book on each season's special words. For help with consonants as well as vowels, Moncure's much-used My Sound Box series covers alphabet sounds with soft illustrations of children combining letters into everyday words.
More than a generation of early readers have been helped along their way by Jane Moncure's books. Although not all are currently available as new copies, most can be found through Amazon's third party suppliers and in your local public library's children's room.