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Phonics Handbook


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Table of Contents

Introduction. Acknowledgements. PART 1: ASSESSMENT AND REPORTING STRATEGIES. Chapter 1. The importance of a needs assessment: where do I start? Chapter 2. Student profile. Chapter 3. Alphabet assessment. Chapter 4. Gough-Kastler-Roper phonemic awareness assessment. Chapter 5 Basic decoding skills. Chapter 6. Informal reading inventory. Chapter 7. Formal assessment of reading attainment: the Burt Word Reading Test. Chapter 8. Invented spelling test. Chapter 9. Story writing task. Chapter 10. Attitudes to reading. Chapter 11. Reporting to parents. PART 2: TEACHING STRATEGIES. Chapter 12. How to help the difficult student. Chapter 13. How to teach phonics. Chapter 14. How to teach spelling. Chapter 15. How to teach syllabification. Chapter 16. How to teach comprehension. Chapter 17. Lesson planning and design for the reading tutor. Chapter 18. Research on the phonics handbook approach. PART 3: LESSON PLANS TO TEACH BASIC DECODING SKILLS. Chapter 19. Phoneme sounds of the alphabet: consonants and short vowel sounds. Chapter 20. Reading two- and three-letter words. Chapter 21. Consonant blends. Chapter 22. Consonant initial and final digraphs. Chapter 23. Long and short vowel sounds. Chapter 24. The soft sounds of C and G. Chapter 25. The r- and l-affected vowels. Chapter 26. Vowel digraphs: one and two sounds. Chapter 27. Compund words. Chapter 28. Silent letters. Chapter 29. Syllable breaking. Chapter 30. Greek spellings. Chapter 31. Latin words. Chapter 32. Greek words. PART 4: APPENDICES. Appendix A: 300 sight words. Appendix B: Advanced sight words. Appendix C: Decoding charts. Index.

About the Author

Professor Tom Nicholson, Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, New Zealand Born in Australia, trained and worked as a teacher there, worked as a researcher for the Ministry of Education in South Australia, completed a PhD at The University of Minnesota, and since then worked at University level in New Zealand. The last 15 years worked at The University of Auckland, New Zealand?s premier University. The University of Auckland is ranked very highly in international research surveys and our last Vice Chancellor has recently been appointed to the same role at Oxford University. An experienced teacher workshop presenter. Awards: Alexander Onassis Fellowship; International Reading Association doctoral award. Worked as a magazine columnist on education issues. Currently directing and teaching in a long-term research project to improve the reading achievement of children who are not responding to normal school interventions. The project involves three reading clinics situated in schools in Auckland. Pupils come from both middle class as well as low-income parts of the city. Parents bring their children after school for one-to-one tuition, one hour each week. Each year up to 20 University students receive training and work as tutors in the clinics. The reading project uses The Phonics Handbook as the teaching manual. This is the 5th year of the project and hundreds of children have benefited from the tuition. The project also offers an annual 3-week reading summer school aimed at children in poverty areas of Auckland who might benefit from free tuition. Funding for the project comes from private donors and parent donations.


"I can see that this text should become a valuable resource for all teachers." (New Zealand Education Review, October 2006) "...immensely valuable..." (SPELD NZ Record, October 2006) "...this book gives clear guidelines ... very well organised..." (, October 2006) "...a resource that will allow practitioners to assess, plan and implement more focused literacy instruction to those who require it." (The Journal of Reading and Writing, January 2007)

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