Book reviews - learning to read - Read with Oxford

Read with Oxford is a new range of carefully levelled books to help children learn to read, and love to read. The Read with Oxford Stages have been developed by reading experts to help you choose which books to use at home to support your child – from their first steps in phonics all the way through to being independent readers.

There are six Stages within Read with Oxford, each carefully levelled to support your child as they progress. Each of the six stages are colour-coded and underpinned by a simple statement to help you choose at a glance the right stage for your child. Read with Oxford Stages are also aligned with the Oxford Levels and Book Bands used in schools throughout the UK, so that you can match Read with Oxford books to those your child brings home from school. Not sure where to start? Try the simple test to find out which Read with Oxford Stage is best for your child. Find out more.

Julia Donaldson's Songbirds Bob Bug and Other Stories (Stage 1 Phonics)

This fun collection includes twelve lively stories from an enduringly popular author; it's perfect for children starting to learn to read. What makes this book (and the others that follow on for the next stages) outstanding is the fact the book includes tips for reading together (a whole page per story, which is absolutely excellent), explaining the sounds that each story focuses on and identifying any words children may find tricky. This ensures that adults guiding children are giving them the very best help possible. Lively illustrations in a style appropriate to the age are matched carefully to the text, giving children visual clues to help understanding. Children will really enjoy the stories, and the fact the author is most likely already familiar to them.
"Songbirds is a phonics programme carefully created by Julia to support children who are learning to read and is used in schools to inspire a love of reading. There are eight Songbirds story collections for you to enjoy. Featuring much-loved characters, great authors, engaging storylines and fun activities, Read with Oxford offers an exciting range of carefully levelled reading books to build your child's reading confidence. Find practical advice, free eBooks and fun activities to help your child progress on Let's get them flying!"
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Read with Oxford: Stage 2: Biff, Chip and Kipper: Super Dad and Other Stories by Roderick Hunt and Alex Brychta

Popular characters and well-loved authors combine to encourage children to develop a love for reading early on. In this collection, children can watch and find out how ! There are two Phonics books (Biff and Chip look after the hens and a space adventure with Kipper) and two Stories for Wider Reading (Wilf's dad saves the day and another space adventure for Kipper). There are tips for parents and fun activities, puzzles and questions throughout the book for you and your child to enjoy together, as well as to encourage learning and understanding. "Biff, Chip, Kipper and Floppy the dog are the well-loved characters from Oxford Reading Tree, used in 80% of primary schools. With exciting stories, humorous illustrations, tips for parents and after-reading activities, this series is the perfect companion from your child's very first steps in phonics all the way to reading independence."

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Read with Oxford: Stage 3: Phonics: The Moon in the Pond and Other Tales

Four traditional tales are engagingly retold in this colourful volume - Stone Soup; Hans in Luck; The Moon in the Pond; and Lazy Jack. The phonics progression is clear and ideal for children who are growing in reading confidence; the stories have been written so children can read them alone. They are expertly levelled and in line with children's phonics learning at school. In additional to the stories, the collection offers tips for reading the stories together, extended story texts that parents can read aloud to their child and story maps that children can use to help retell the story in their own words. Teaching children to read can be challenging and it's essential that parents are well guided so they give their child the best posssible support without any confusion. The logical progression of the Read with Oxford series ensures this happens, and parents are supported throughout with step-by-step stages as well as online advice and resources.

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Read with Oxford: Stage 3: Julia Donaldson's Songbirds: My Phonics Activity Book

Children may well view this books as just another fun sticker book - but whether they do or not, it's packd with valuable learning. They will probably already be familiar with the Songbirds characters, so they will enjoy meeting them again. The activities are ideal for children who are growing in reading confidence; there's a good variety of activities and stickers, all carefully selected, to provide a good way to build phonics knowledge and reading confidence. Help the pirates to fill their treasure chests, complete the toy box puzzle and find the right tail stickers for the animals! The fun feel of the book is a lovely way to engage children's attention and to encourage them to enjoy learning.

Read with Oxford: Stage 4: Phonics: The Frog Prince and Other Tales

The Frog Prince; How the Bear Lost his Tail; Monkey's Magic Pipe; and Yoshi the Stonecutter. This beautifully-illustrated book with clear phonics progression is ideal for children who are gaining more reading confidence. These well-loved traditional tales from around the world have been rewritten so that children can read them for themselves. They are expertly levelled and in line with children's phonics learning at school. In additional to the stories, the collection offers tips for reading the stories together, extended story texts that parents can read aloud to their child, and story maps that children can use to help retell the story in their own words; these are sets of illustrations that prompt story retelling. When teaching to read, always be guided by your child; don't get caught up in what you think they should be doing (or what other children are doing), but make sure they cover every step and are confident before moving on. Following a progressive programme like Read with Oxford is invaluable for ensuring this happens.

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Read with Oxford: Stage 5: Winnie and Wilbur: Winnie Dresses Up

In Big Top Winnie, Winnie sets up her own circus and wants to be a graceful tightrope walker! In Winnie's Fun Run, she dresses up for a fancy-dress race, but not everything goes to plan. Both stories are short chapter books and are beautifully produced and colourfully illustrated to make reading a real joy for children. Books with short chapters are a great way for children who are becoming independent readers to extend reading stamina and progress to the next step of their reading journey. Tips for parents and fun after-reading activities really help parents to guide their children so they get the most out of the stories. This book will provide children with an almost seamless progression into reading all the wonderful stories about Winnie and Wilbur - and just like all the others, this book has Korky Paul's brilliantly apposite illustrations to accompany the hilarious story.

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Read with Oxford: Stage 6: Badcats by Pat Thomson

The Badcat gang are the hairiest, scariest animals around! At least they think they are, until they meet a little hamster called Hattie... Again, this is a chapter book but as befits Stage 6, the chapters are longer and the word count higher. What doesn't change is the high quality storytelling. The black and white illustrations are by Mike Phillips. Parents will value the reading tips and activities included in the book.

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