'Unique approach' of Cambridge reading scheme

14th June 1996 at 01:00
We were delighted and gratified by the review of the Cambridge Reading scheme (TES, May 24).

Paul Noble had only one substantive criticism, that "the scheme . . . does seem to be weak in building up that essential sight vocabulary". In fact, Cambridge Reading has a unique and systematic approach to the development of a sight vocabulary in the form of five workbooks, Developing a Sight Vocabulary: the first 50 words. In each workbook, children learn to read and write 50 of the most common words, always encountering them within the context of sentences from the early books.

In addition, and as a point of information, we would like to emphasise the value of the scheme's flip-over book, Listening Pictures: first steps in phonics. This is a key component of the first phase of Cambridge Reading. The 28 poster-size pictures on durable card, together with an accompanying teacher's book, are designed to help teachers develop children's phonological awareness - laying the foundations of subsequent work in phonics - through activities that explore sounds, rhyme, rhythm, alliteration and analogy. Listening Pictures provides whole-class and group work for the first year and beyond in an important area of the reading curriculum, which until now has not been well-resourced.

RICHARD BROWN KATE RUTTLE Cambridge University Press Publishing division The Edinburgh Building Shaftesbury Road Cambridge

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