23rd March 2001 at 00:00
PHONIX CUBES. CVC Groupwork set pound;12.99 (plus VAT). Class Phonics set pound;25 (plus VAT). Philip and Tacey. North Way, Handover, Hampshire SP10 5BA. Tel: 01264 384 808 www.philipandtacey.

Email: sales@philipandtacey.

Early readers and writers can take a break from pen, paper and book and still develop their new-found skills with Phonix cubes from Philip and Tacey. The interlocking cubes resemble mini versions of the building blocks usually seen in toy stores, so they should appeal to Lego-maniacs. Phonix cubes are colour-coded yellow, blue, red, green and pink for easy recognition of single vowels, consonants and letter combinations.

On their own, the bricks can be used for Scrabble-like activities, encouraging children to create words from a random selection of bricks. Although more suitable for key stage 1 pupils, shuffling a limited number of bricks to create as many words as possible n a set time may prove just as addictive to key stage 2 children keen to show off their expanding vocabulary.

For more focused learning, use the cards with the bricks and you can concentrate on specific areas such as vowel phonemes or consonant blends.

The bricks aid simple and smooth construction, but children who have problems holding a pencil may find them a little fiddly. A larger version of the cubes would be an excellent resource for children with long-term dexterity problems.

The CVC Groupwork boxed set includes 90 cubes and a set of 24 alphabet sequencing cards and 24 picture cards for word-building. The Class Phonics Set comes with 300 cubes in a jar and no cards, but activity notes and ideas are attached to the back of the jar.

Phonix cubes offer a tactile approach to letter recognition and can easily be slotted in alongside existing reading schemes.

Yolanda Brooks

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