Can anyone suggest a non-phonics learning to read scheme?

(46 Posts)
carocaro Wed 09-Jan-13 20:05:53

I don't want phonics based learning to read scheme, I would like to try out an alternative at home, thanks.

Orchidskeepdying Wed 09-Jan-13 20:08:33

why wouldn't you want a phonics based reading scheme?

meditrina Wed 09-Jan-13 20:08:43

Not much to choose from: try second hand sales for reading scheme books (eg Oxford Reading Tree) published between about 1960 - 1990.

learnandsay Wed 09-Jan-13 20:11:54

Dr Seuss books and Elsie H Marinarik's Little Bear books are for children to learn to read and aren't phonic reading schemes. Have you looked in your library early reading section? I'm not a great fan of phonics readers but the Usborne phonics readers Big Pig on a Dig, Mouse Moves House (and so on) I'd recommend alongside Little Bear and Dr Seuss. Not because they're phonics readers but because they're great books for children to start reading, they're very well written and they're colourful.

mrz Wed 09-Jan-13 20:12:19

Most of the older schemes are look and say so look for anything first published 25 years ago

ihearsounds Wed 09-Jan-13 20:17:29

If going to be attending school, could be confusing for child to be learning two different systems.

Greythorne Wed 09-Jan-13 20:20:24

Ladybird Peter and Jane books from the 70s


Ball ball. Jane has a ball. Peter has a ball. Look at the ball. The dog has a ball.

Interesting stuff.

Virgil Wed 09-Jan-13 20:26:45

Why? They do phonics at school. It's the easiest way to teach them to read. Why would you not do it?

cassell Wed 09-Jan-13 20:31:07

Peter and Jane - you can get them on amazon, we're working our way through them and ds loves them and is picking up the words very quickly. The 'c' books have some phonics alongside the look and say method. I learnt with them as a child and was a free reader by 5. Different schemes suit different people and phonics is not the only answer.

learnandsay Wed 09-Jan-13 20:31:31

I don't know what it's like in most homes these days, but most of the parents that I know don't have phonics readers at home. They just have normal books. There's nothing wrong with normal books!

mrz Wed 09-Jan-13 20:33:51

Why should they have any reading scheme books at home (except ones sent home from school)? But the OP has specifically asked for reading scheme

learnandsay Wed 09-Jan-13 20:41:43

I know one shouldn't presume.

Having said that I'm going to presume anyway, but I presume the OP simply wants children's learning to read books which aren't phonics readers, or put another way, simple reading books which don't follow the phonics scheme that her school has. That's not an unreasonable request.

I doubt that the OP actually wants to take it upon herself to teach look and say reading. That's a task in itself. My guess is she just wants simple books to read but hasn't been quite specific enough or anticipated what kind of a controversial request asking for such a simple thing could turn out to be.

I think she just wants some different books. And why not?

Except the OP asked for a "non-phonics learning to read scheme"

Why would she want that, if not to teach look and say?

mrz Wed 09-Jan-13 20:45:04

Most MN parents who ask for schemes are informed enough to know the difference IMHE. Personally I would never recommend buying scheme books for home

JollyToddles Wed 09-Jan-13 20:45:31

In England it seems to be all phonics. In other places this is not necessarily the case. I will be asking school what scheme they use so I don't confuse DS too much if he's interested in advance of primary school starting.

learnandsay Wed 09-Jan-13 20:47:19

Well, you have to know how to teach look and say in order to teach it. And I'm guessing that if the OP doesn't know what books such a method uses then she doesn't know how to teach it. I'm guessing that she just wants to use the books as reading books.

Walt Disney publishes a Winnie the Pooh non phonics reading scheme.

mrz Wed 09-Jan-13 20:54:26

Look and Say is self explanatory - You look at the word and say it (if you don't know it someone tells you until you remember)
The books start with the same single word on every page (so you tell the child on page 1 and hope they remember it by page 8. The the 2nd book introduces another word repeat as before. This may be accompanied by flash cards or word lists to learn by sight.

learnandsay Wed 09-Jan-13 20:56:35

No it isn't. There are several techniques associated with it, including looking at the shape of the words, learning spellings, learning rhymes, the size of the words read and in which order they're read.

mrz Wed 09-Jan-13 20:56:38

Most common Look & Say in schools are ORT & Ginn

mumchat Wed 09-Jan-13 21:15:35

Personally I would never recommend buying scheme books for home

Even when the school don't have phonics books to match their learning to read phonics reading scheme & still use and send home Ginn and ORT?

carocaro Wed 09-Jan-13 21:17:51

Thanks all, it is because there is more than one way to skin a cat, for want of a better expression! A controversial request, really? I don't think so.

I have 2 children, one is is 10 and dyslexic and phonics was not good for him, as his dyslexia is to do with processing sounds and he could not hear phonics sounds in his head (too lengthy to explain in detail) and he learned to read words as they were without sounding them out or blending sounds ie: phonics as a great % made no sense, because of the huge variations and complexities of sound. He uses mnemonics a lot as well as a whole host of other techniques and he is on course for 5's in literacy at the end of his current Y6. Mostly he knows words and learnt words by sight.

DS2 is 5 and I am wondering if he is also dyslexic as he has some, not all, of the same traits DS 1 had when he was 5. With my 10 yo we banged away at phonics, non the wiser to alternatives, and it was tough going until a fab teacher in Y2 suggested some alternatives to the phonics method. So I was wanting to try another method at home to see if it was better for him, at an earlier stage.

Children also derserve a lot more credit that you think, they don't get confused by more than one method of anything, they have rich sponge like brains that can adapt and use many ways of being taught. So some of you are saying that reading non school books at home is a bad idea and too confusing as they are not necesarily following a phonics method? Nuts!

The dogma of phonics does not have to followed without any other ways of learning to read, without fear and panic setting in that it is being 'done wrong' you can't teach someone to read in a wrong way, however, you can teach someone to read in a way that it write for them, dyslexic or not.

""Why? They do phonics at school. It's the easiest way to teach them to read. Why would you not do it? "" Because you can't shove all children through the same system and expect it to work for everyone. It is not the easiest way to learn to read for some.

This sort of explains it in a rough sense. reading is not just about being force fed phonics. (

Tgger Wed 09-Jan-13 21:19:00

In the ideal world every school would provide enough, good phonics readers. Alas, this seems often not to be the case, and as these are a passport into reading (would you not agree?) then surely it is a pretty good idea to buy some for home.

Tgger Wed 09-Jan-13 21:19:20

Or if not buy, borrow, beg or steal grin.

Tgger Wed 09-Jan-13 21:22:33

Thanks for the explanation OP. What did you/school use with your older DS? I think Peter and Jane although dull works. I learnt to read using it and it's still in print I think! My Mum gave me some of my old reading books, I'll have a look for you, although I'm guessing most are out of print!

meditrina Wed 09-Jan-13 21:28:38

I think you perhaps need to ask the staff who are teaching your dyslexic DS what they recommend for him.

Most dyslexia intervention schemes are phonics based.

Don't dismiss the phonics approach because you dislike the name; it's the centuries old method for teaching reading and the one which gets the best results. I can see that additional specialism may need to be brought into the equation when tackling a specific barrier to learning, and I hope you do have a specialist familiar with your children's specific issues you can call on, rather than risk yet more confusion and delay with an inappropriate mix of methods.

KindleMum Wed 09-Jan-13 21:31:36

In your position, I think you should try Peter and Jane. Available on Amazon. DS is bright and wanted to read when he turned 2 and he never got on with phonics and was frustrated by the large number of common, non-phonetic words in English. I got levels 1 and 2 of Peter and Jane to try out as I was out of ideas and he flew through them, I could hardly order them fast enough for him. We've done the whole series now. I didn't bother with the C books which are for writing.
Peter and Jane is ok. Yes, it's not thrilling but frankly I don't see that Biff, Chip and Kipper or Project X are thrilling either.

mrz Wed 09-Jan-13 21:34:10

""Why? They do phonics at school. It's the easiest way to teach them to read. Why would you not do it? "
Not actually true. It's much easier for the teacher to send home a box of sight words and get the parents to teach their child to recognise them by sight.
Schools teach phonics because it is the most effective way to get children reading and provides an effective tool when they encounter a word that isn't on their sight word list.

I read Michael Rosen's views on phonics and highlighted his many errors far he hasn't responded, hmm He didn't manage to get his basic claims about the phonics check correct ... tut! I wonder where he gets his misinformation

learnandsay Wed 09-Jan-13 21:36:11

I can find you lists of graded reading books scheme by scheme. The only problem is that I've found tracking the correct level non phonics scheme books down a real problem. The books are mostly old.

I don't know how big your local library is, but in the early reading section of my local library there are lots of easy reader children's learning to read books which are non phonic. My library even has an early reading co-ordinator who will telephone you back in the evening and discuss reading books.

mrz Wed 09-Jan-13 21:40:33

learnandsay OUP are still publishing non phonics scheme books as are Pearsons/Heinemann available on Amazon

frazzled1772 Wed 09-Jan-13 21:44:37

Fuzz Buzz - good for children who struggle to segment and blend phonemes. Combines reading and writing in a stuctured way.

learnandsay Wed 09-Jan-13 21:46:00

Well, if we can track it down for the OP then, I'd recommend the Heinemann Once Upon a Time Storyworld series for her son.

OP, I did once have a website with photos and explanations of all the Storyworld books on it. The books rock!

learnandsay Wed 09-Jan-13 21:49:03
golfyc Wed 09-Jan-13 22:38:37

At our school they do a mixture of 'jolly' phonics and sight reading. Mostly the oxford reading tree - which actually is a mixture of both anyway.
Quite right to try different methods - children are different! I have a friend who is a teacher at infant stage and says that some children just take to leaning in different ways.

simpson Wed 09-Jan-13 22:51:27

My DD (reception) loved Peter and Jane (my mother still had my set shock so she read them when staying there....

It repeats a word over and over (as others have said)...

Maybe look at the Oxford owl website and see if there are any of the older ORT on there to read as ebooks...

DD has now moved onto ORT <<eeek>> I was complaining about JP books and now they seem fab in comparison....

Tgger Wed 09-Jan-13 23:00:19

I remember my kids liked me reading Peter and Jane books to them shock age 2 and 3. Strange. I guess it's all the repetition. I was not teaching them to read at this age I must point out! Some of the old stuff is hilarious too.....

what ORT is your DD blessed with simpson? I thought she was reading Magic Key, or has she moved on?

manicbmc Wed 09-Jan-13 23:06:23

Children learn by different methods. For some phonics is great, but quite a few children find them confusing.

simpson Wed 09-Jan-13 23:39:00

She got 3 books this week shock

One ORT (gold) can't remember what it's called but a magic key one about floppy needing to be rescued....

A Wallace and Gromit book (don't know what level - just says green c phase 5)

And a picture type book "The monkey with a bright blue bottom"

The earlier magic key ones she read through the reading chest but I think I might take her off it now if she will get 3 books every week....

Summersbee Fri 11-Jan-13 09:39:42

We lived abroad and buying the Oxford Learning Tree was brilliant for my children who loved them all and read them over and over. I bought them to have fun, interesting books around at home - along with many others of course. I have kept them all.

learnandsay Sun 20-Jan-13 08:51:48


learnandsay Tue 05-Feb-13 11:12:00

Back on the subject of non phonics reading schemes, what's to be done if the child can't hear the sounds properly? Will the school help the child at an early enough point so that he or she doesn't fall behind? How will such a child be taught to read?

redfleur Tue 05-Feb-13 11:17:22

Try the Ginn series, especially the older print ones...not at all phonic based.

Some kids learn to read with phonics, others learn by sight long as they love reading, who cares how they learn to do it.

If you have a local oxfam book shop try there. Ours has loads of the old ladybird Peter and Jane books etc.

You could try one or two really cheaply then invest in the whole lot online if you like them.

zingally Tue 05-Feb-13 14:23:37

I learnt to read via Peter and Jane (this was in the late 80s/early 90s).

My school used the Roger Red Hat, Billy Blue Hat series.

Some earlier Oxford Reading Tree books are non-phonic. Try searching out some early/mid 1990s editions.

WMDinthekitchen Tue 05-Feb-13 14:46:10

Some of this might help...

Mashabell Tue 05-Feb-13 15:30:32

I found with my children (and now with my grandchildren too) that finding books which they want to read and re-read is very helpful. Dr Seuss has appealed to all of them.

My daughter in her early years (now in her 40s) and one of my grandaughters (aged 7) got absolutely hooked on the Pied Piper. She brought with her when coming to stay with us over Christmas a simplified version of it which seemed awful to me. So I printed off the real one from the internet and she could not put it down, was reading it to herself aloud for hours, with fanstastic expression.

For my son, who was a reluctant reader, the Beano and Dr Who books were the salvation.

So capitalising on their current interests, whether its fairies, goblins (The Hobbit?) or whatever works better than anything.

As u say, they can do their phonics at school. Reading at home should be mainly for enjoyment or education. My 3-yr-old grandson is currently obsessed with a book about the body which has lots of pictures, flaps and writing too. I am sure that this is already helping him to learn to read too. He is certainly starting to recognise some words and I have even done a bit of incidental phonics with him using those.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now