Dog on a Log Chapter Books: Step 1 by Pamela Brookes

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Dog on a Log Chapter Books: Step 1 by Pamela Brookes

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Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The first book in a systematic, decodable series of books which are going to help the dyslexic or struggling reader - or anyone learning to read. Definitely recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 132 Date: March 2018
Publisher: Dog on a Log Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1949471113

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What do you do when your child has dyslexia and you need books which will help them to achieve the wonder that is reading? You can risk buying early readers, but the sounds in the book might not be the ones you've been working on and encountering words which are just too challenging can have more of a negative effect on the young dyslexic than a child without that problem. You need to be able to buy books at a reasonable price which concentrate on what you've been working on, without anything else being thrown into the mix. You need a story which engages the young mind and you need stages which progress steadily through the learning process without there being any large jumps. Some online support and games wouldn't go amiss, either. Reading - and learning to read - should be a pleasure. It should be fun.

This is where Dog on a Log books come into their own. They're decodable books, which means that once the child has learned the sight words (they're listed on the back of the book and they're the ones you don't even notice as you read) and the phonics for a particular book, they'll be able to read it. Simple, isn't it? For instance, this first book in the series introduces digraphs - 'ch', 'sh', 'th', 'wh' and 'ck' sounds. You won't meet words ending in 'ang', 'ing', 'ong', 'ung', 'ank', 'ink', 'onk' and 'unk'. They're a little way down the line in the step three book - and what fun you'll have when you get to those stories! This also illustrates how the books are systematic: you learn a rule and you practice it until you're comfortable with it, then you move up a step and add in two or three more rules and practice those until you're comfortable with them. Once again, simple, isn't it? I can imagine a lot of parents heaving a great sigh of relief, not least because you can take your own time over it.

Unusually for early readers there are not a lot of pictures and those that are there are not particularly detailed. Pamela Brookes argues that detailed pictures which give a hint about what's happening don't teach reading, they teach guessing. I've found them useful in early readers where more 'challenging' words are introduced, almost without warning, but there's simply no need for them in the Dog on a Log books where nothing is introduced without the learner being prepared for it.

The paper in the books is not stark white, so it's easier on the eye for the dyslexic, but do remember that the books are available on Kindle, so it's simple to adjust font size and background colour to one with which your child is at ease. (In the paperback the font is verdana and it's BIG.) The Kindle version also removes a problem which your child might encounter with the paperback version. You don't get the thick paper which makes some dyslexia-friendly books so expensive, so it is possible to get a shadow from what's on the page below. It doesn't bother most children, but if it affects your child you'll be better with the Kindle version.

You want to know about the stories, don't you? Well, given that Brookes has a very restricted palette of sounds to work with, she creates stories about dogs, fish, cats, bugs and pigs. Some words are almost exclusive to the North American market (I'm thinking of 'gal' and 'hot rod' here), but I didn't encounter any American spellings which are going to create future problems for UK readers.

The length of the books grows as your child achieves proficiency and extends their vocabulary. In this first book we're looking at 260 to 470 words, but by step three we're up to 960 to 1170 words. You'll find more information about the first three books in the series here if you're in the UK. Don't forget to have a look at the Dog on a Log website where you're find a lot of real help and even some free downloads. I'd like to thank the publisher for making the books available to Bookbag.

You can read more about Pamela Brookes here.

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Buy Dog on a Log Chapter Books: Step 1 by Pamela Brookes at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dog on a Log Chapter Books: Step 1 by Pamela Brookes at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Dog on a Log Chapter Books: Step 1 by Pamela Brookes at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dog on a Log Chapter Books: Step 1 by Pamela Brookes at


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