Because learning centers on the acquisition and mastery of language skills, phonics instruction is foundational for education. Unless kids know how to read and write fluently, they'll struggle in every subject they encounter, and likely will end up hating anything school-related. Once again, Evan-Moor is here to help you and your kids avoid that eventuality.
Phonics instruction shouldn't end as soon as kids can sound out a select group of words, but neither should it continue all the way through their school career. With that balance in mind, these series of books cover the elementary grades, the period during which these skills ought to solidify to ensure future success.
The most basic series is Daily Phonics, with one book each for grades 1-3, and a fourth book covering grades 4-6+. Each book includes 32 weeks of daily one-page lessons; lessons should take from 15-20 minutes apiece. A full page of teacher notes and instruction appears at the beginning of each week's exercise pages, followed by the picture-based lessons themselves.
Unlike many offerings from Evan-Moor, the Daily Phonics books depend on direct teacher supervision and interaction. After teachers explain the theme of each lesson, students complete the exercises, answers for which are included in the back of each text. Topics include consonant and vowel recognition, diphthongs, homonyms.
More limited in overall scope, but more thorough for each grade level, Basic Phonics Skills offers supplemental work for preschool through third grade. Each of the four books includes a number of exercises designed to reinforce print, phoneme, and alphabet awareness; sound-symbol association; word families; vowels and consonants; plural and inflectional endings; and variants.
There are also reproducible "Little Phonics Readers" designed to accompany the lessons, and which can be constructed and colored by students. Exercises are often picture-based, though they become less so as the series progresses. Kids complete word searches, fill in blanks, match, answer multiple choice questions, and more.
Phonics Intervention Centers
For students in need of remedial work, Primary Phonics Intervention Centers and Intermediate Phonics Intervention Centers provide focused exercises designed to teach and reinforce specific skills. The first series is comprised of four consumable full-color texts all covering grades 1-3; the second series is the same, but covers grades 4-6.
Every book contains 7-8 full-color centers which teachers construct to help students toward fluency. Each center includes teacher pages, student exercise sheets, activity mats, answer keys, sound cards, and task cards. Like the other Evan-Moor phonics programs, the Phonics Intervention Centers are meant to be explicitly teacher-led and include scripted lessons.
Both the intermediate and the primary series include the same titles: Short & Long Vowels, Vowel Digraphs, Consonant Digraphs & Blends, and Variant Consonant & Vowel Sounds. Topics are treated in-depth to ensure internalization, which is especially useful for students previously unable to understand or remember important phonics concepts.
None of the Evan-Moor phonics texts are intended as a primary phonics curriculum, but as supplemental or remedial work they are ideal. Lessons are short but thorough, and there's enough repetition to really let ideas work their way inside kids' heads. If you're looking for a no-frills addition to your phonics program, you need look no further.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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