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English - A flying start for reading

What it's all about

Gillian Oxford and Diana Birkbeck have designed a series of books introducing dyslexic and new readers to the pleasure of traditional tales. Both authors have a wealth of teaching experience and are dyslexia specialists. The Flying Starters texts, available online, are written using words with regular spelling, but develop more complex phonic patterns as the series progresses.

They offer key new language in a plenary word bank, gradual grading throughout the series, from books 1 to 12, and well-known stories with pictorial guides to boost word recognition. Young readers will feel a sense of achievement after conquering each 12-page-long tale, while developing their skills and confidence in reading.

Not only does each book develop learners' reading skills, but each tale opens a doorway into histories, cultures and mythologies that will broaden the reader's worldly knowledge. Pupils' imaginations will be sparked by traditional fables such as The Tortoise and the Hare, fairytales such as The Snow Queen and Puss in Boots, religious tales including the Christian Noah's Ark and Hindi Gopal and the Cowherd, and historical, poetic stories such as Henry the Eighth, He had Six Wives.

The cultural context of the tales encourages discussion and further language development in investigating their roots. What better time to start developing confidence and a love of reading than National Storytelling Week, from 28 January to 4 February?

What else?

Try jade88's lesson plans for storytelling and developing literacy skills through The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child. TESiboard has interactive look and read activities to enthuse learners about reading, and there is a wide range of resources to help you prepare for National Storytelling Week.

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