Monday, June 8, 2009

Tonka Phonics Reading Program

Tonka Phonics Reading Program: A Comprehensive reading program containing 12 all-new books, 15 flash cards, and a parent letter. Published by Scholastic.

I was a bit of a skeptic on this one, I admit. Perhaps because I'm a bit skeptic about phonics. Don't get me wrong. I came of age (began kindergarten) when phonics reigned supreme. (I know this changes back and forth and back and forth through the years.) We had "phonics" through second grade. (Which seemed a little like overkill to me, to be honest.) I remember going through the drills "st" in "stop" "gl" in "glue" "squ" in "squeak" or whatever it was for squ. And in kindergarten we spent months learning ba, be, bi, bo, bu (etc.) before we ever tackled words--like cat, bat, mat, hat, etc. I remember the 'joy' of reading such great books Matt the Rat, Pig in the Wig. But each phonics program, I believe, is a little different. And phonics doesn't have to mean that you divorce all meaning from the process.

The books are simple stories about trucks being trucks and doing truckish things on the road and on construction sites. My favorites are probably Truck It In! and Trash Dash. For preschoolers who are truck enthusiasts these books may be a lot of fun. They do include plenty of sound effects like beep, crash, splash, etc.

Tractor Tracks = short a
Get Set to Wreck = short e
Mix it up = short i
Stop! Road Block! = short o
Dump Truck Dump! = short u
Raise the Crane = long a
Beep! Beep! = long e
Fire Siren = long i
Slow Tow Home = long o
Go, Trucks, Go! = plurals
Trash Dash = sh
Truck it In! = ck

Sample text from the books:

I am a tractor.
I drag my plow
across the land.
I can plant the seeds.

Let's get set to wreck!
Let's send the
metal ball flying.

I am a big
mixer truck.
I have a big list
of things to do.

I am a dump truck.
I lug and dump stuff.
I hum as I run.
Hum! Hum! Hum!

A rock is stuck
in the muck.
We need a truck!

They bold the text that (supposedly) at least illustrates the new concept. They don't always get it right. Sometimes they bold something that doesn't make the right sound. (Across doesn't have a short a sound. Send doesn't have a short e sound, at least it doesn't to my ears.) Sometimes something makes the right sound, but doesn't get bolded.

Firefighters climb
up my sides.
They hold on tight.
My siren is loud.
My lights shine.

Climb has a long i sound as does my. And I'm not sure why they didn't include shine.

I'm not sure why they didn't include a long u book other than the fact that maybe they couldn't think of anything truck or construction related to go with a long u sound. (I can't think of anything off hand either.) They're not perfect books, but they're fun books.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

1 comment:

  1. and light may have a long /i/ but that concept is about the /igh/, isn't it? In my experience /igh/ isn't introduced in early reading.

    these books will go out simply because it's a topic that interests boys...