'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 10 October 2019

Review: Sound Series Complete Series

Former primary school teacher Barbara Murray, author of the new series of four books, Sound Stories, has just won two awards at the 2019 Educational Publishing Awards Australia (EPAA).

Her incredible Sound Waves Foundation, co-authored with Terry Watson, won the Best Primary Teaching Resource and Outstanding Primary Resource. Their Sound Waves online version was also a winner in 2017.

The Australian National Curriculum recommends that all primary schools incorporate phonemic awareness and synthetic phonics in their literacy programs. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the sounds of a language.

Synthetic phonics involves segmenting spoken words into individual sounds. These are skills that prepare and equip children from kindergarten to Grade 2 – 3, with essential language tools for future learning.

The superb Sound Stories is made up of 43 stories to introduce the 43 sounds. The Bolton Boys’ Balloon Adventure and other Stories is Part 1.

It introduces 12 stories with 12 consonants out of the 24 Focus Sounds (i.e. b as in balloon). Book 2, Robbie Robot to the Rescue and other Stories, introduces Part 2 of the consonants, with another 12 stories and their equivalent Focus Sounds.

The two following titles, Anna Ant’s Antics and other Stories, and Bertie Bird and the Earthworm and other Stories, Part 1 and 2, introduce 10 and 9 consecutive vowel sounds.
10-point guidelines to all the stories enable educators and students to get the most from each sample story. There is rhyming and repetition, assonance, alliteration, a lot of clever word play, and imaginative story lines.

All with identical layouts and design, these books are in essence, children’s picture books with fantastic stories made up of language specifics. Stories full of adventure and challenge are built from a wide range of themes. Native birds, animals, toys and insects are the personified main characters more frequently than human characters.

Children will delight in analysing the stunning, detailed full-page illustrations by the gifted Sarah Hardy. Analysis is a crucial part of the process used to engage children’s imagination, therefore is something teachers and educators – including home-schoolers, will encourage.

The interpretation and discussion of what they see: the emotions of the characters, descriptions of the settings and surroundings, establishing who/what the characters are – children, animals or toys - and the backstory they imagine before and after the happenings on the page, are all deconstructed.

The books can be bought separately for $24.99 from bookstores and at http://www.barbaramurray-author.com.au/ with a generous discount offered to schools and libraries.

Title: Sound Stories Complete Series
Author: Barbara Murray
Illustrator: Sarah Hardy
Publisher: Little Steps Publishing, $24.99 each
Publication Date: August 2019
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781925545074, 9781925545685, 9781925545975, 9780980723700
For ages: 5+
Type: Non Fiction, Education/Literacy