I’m very proud to release my long vowel series. Reading Elephant 1st grade reading passages introduce sounds gradually. They are ideal for struggling readers who need a methodical, step-by-step approach to learning to read.
The professional pictures are cute and funny and add character to the stories.
These 1st grade reading passages are designed for kids who have mastered short vowels, consonant digraphs, consonant blends and silent e. The long vowels series introduces long vowels in the following order:
ee as in bee
ea as in team
ai as in sail
_ay as in day
oa as in boat
ow as in glow
igh as in light
_y as in my (y at the end of a little word makes the long i sound)
_____y as in funny (y at the end of a big word makes the long e sound)
Reading elephant long vowel series is now available!
1st grade reading passages
Many 1st grade reading passages claim to be “phonics-based” yet use repetitive language that encourages memorization. This is the opposite of phonics-based. Research-based phonics books are not repetitive and do not help the child guess or memorize the story.
Repetitive, guessable books are whole-language-based. They encourage a sham form of reading. Kids often memorize whole language books with ease. Yet, when given a new book, they cannot read at all. True phonics books build sound-by-sound reading skills that allow kids to crack our written code.
For the past few decades, the whole language approach has entranced education professors. Whole language is based on the faith and promise that kids will just “catch on” to reading. Yet, learning to read is hard. With the whole-language or balanced-literacy approach, about 30% of kids fall behind.
Many kids require a systematic, methodical approach to learning to read. Thus, a pseudo-phonics approach with repetitive sentences and pictures that cue the student does not work. With a true phonics-based approach, all kids can learn to read.
Reading Elephant Phonics Books
All Reading Elephant books are carefully crafted to follow science-based reading methods. Reading elephant books teach explicit, systematic phonics. Sounds are introduced one at a time. This allows kids to practice each new phonics sound.
Reading Elephant books use varied, leveled language so kids cannot guess at the words. The books are truly phonics-based. Our books do NOT include monotonous, repetitive sentences like, “The cake is red. The dog is red. The coat is red…etc.” The writing is methodical. Phonics sounds are introduced slowly. Kids get a lot of practice with each new phonics sound.
In sum, with Reading Elephant books kids can practice decoding skills that they can transfer to the real world.
Kids are Cryptographers
Written languages are codes and kids are cryptographers. Beginning readers must learn how to break the code a bit at a time. Our books introduce one phonics sound in each new set. The sets are easy-to-use and can carry kids through the learning how to decode process.
We know we can read when we don’t have to memorize texts
Intuitively, we know we can read because we do not have to memorize. In fact, the idea that you have to memorize to read is counterintuitive to the very definition of reading. If you pick up Sherlock Holmes, you can delight in a story you haven’t memorized, that indeed would be very difficult to memorize. Afterwards, you can fill out a document for work. Again, this is a text you’ve never seen before.
You know you can read because your skills are transferable. In essence, you can read new texts; not new as in modern, but new as in new to your eyes. You can read a brand new book and find a quiet pleasure in a story you’ve never before heard. We can’t memorize everything we encounter.
Without this transfer of skills, you can’t read at all. If you can only read, “Where’s Spot” because you’ve memorized the whole book, then you can’t read a single word in “Frog and Toad” or your math problems or words on signs. Reading skills give you access to words anywhere—no matter their context or location.
Our ability to memorize whole words is limited. Phonics is efficient.
Yet, unfortunately, many educators believe that kids must memorize books in order to learn to read. Our ability to memorize words is limited. Kids can only memorize about 2,000 words, and this is still an extremely high expectation. After about 2,000 words, the ability to learn new words falls precipitously. Imagine memorizing 2,000 symbols jumbled together in different ways. That’s quite a lot.
“Languages have too many words. Human memory for abstract symbols overloads at about 2,000 symbols, and even achieving this takes many years.” from Diane McGuiness Early Reading Instruction: What Science Really Tells Us about How to Teach Reading (p. 34).
Kids who are taught to memorize often have difficulty when they reach second grade. Their memorization tactic breaks down. It is very difficult to use rote memorization for written languages, because languages are comprised of hundreds of thousands of words. English has one million. If you’ve memorized about 2,000 words, then you’ve only learned a tiny fraction of the written language.
Phonics allows students to break 96% of words
In contrast, phonics unlocks nearly all words. If you approach reading as sound-symbol code-breaking, kids can accurately read almost everything. Sure, learning to read English is pretty hard. The English code is not nearly as transparent as other European languages. However, the erratic nature of our code is greatly exaggerated. If a child just learns 120 sight words and phonics sounds, she is equipped to break over 96% of English.
“Surprisingly, only 4 percent of all English words in print defy explanation and are truly irregular,” write Louisa Moats and Carol Tolman in “English Gets a Bad Rap!”
I am very proud that our 1st grade reading passages help kids break the code in a methodical, systematic way, a way that helps kids develop decoding skills.
Our books benefit struggling readers, especially kids with learning disabilities, including dyslexia, memory-deficits, auditory-processing disorder and autism. There are also many, many kids that simply need explicit, systematic instruction and may not have a learning disability. All struggling readers are bright and talented. We hold the keys to reading. We’re compelled to teach these kids in a way that works.
Long Vowel Digraph Series
The long vowel series (1st grade reading passages) includes:
-24 easy-to-use books (16 pdfs), with fluency bundles made of 2-3 stories
-the most common long vowel digraphs
-an explicit, systematic phonics method
-a focus on building decoding skills
-playful, fun pictures
-the most common sight words
-built-in review so students can practice old phonics sounds
-a path toward independent reading
In total, there are 24 1st grade reading passages. There are 16 pdfs, but each phonics sound includes a fluency bundle made up of 2-3 stories.
I’m excited to offer free samples!
Free long vowel series samples
Ice Cream Cone
The phonics story “Ice Cream Cone” helps students learn ee and ea phonics. This story is about a father and son that enjoy ice cream on the beach.
In the Air
The story “In the Air” is part of a fluency bundle in our shop. This story helps kids learn ai and _ay phonics. In the pdf, Gail flies an airplane and describes all the things she sees below.
What a Sight
The story “What a Sight” teaches the igh phonics sound. It is part of the igh fluency bundle, which includes 3 stories. This story is about a family that goes on a safari and sees zebras, giraffes, lions and crocodiles.
I Can Roar
The story “I Can Roar” allows kids to practice oa and ow phonics. “I Can Roar” is part of a fluency bundle (with 3 stories). “I Can Roar” Is about a baby lion that wants to roam and explore the savanna.
The Wee Little Tree
In our shop, you can see the free sample, “The Wee Little Tree.” This ee/ea phonics story is about a little tree that wants to grow up. He can’t wait to see the spectacular views the other trees relish.
All 24 phonic stories (16 pdfs) are systematic. The stories introduce sounds one at a time. The writing is methodical and allows kids to master new sounds gradually. I’m very excited to add these 1st grade reading passages to our online library.
I hope your students enjoy these phonics stories!