Synthetic Phonics

When children learn to read, they need to understand;

  1.  sounds are represented by written letters
  2.  how to blend the sounds to make words

This is called synthetic phonics and it has been proven to be the best way to help a child learn to read when entering full-time school.  Good synthetic phonic programmes teach children the essential skills of segmenting, blending and phoneme manipulation.

When children sound out words, they slowly say each sound in a word (h-o-t), and then squash the sounds quickly together to “read” the word (hot). This is called blending because sounds are being blended together. Blending (combining sounds) and segmenting (separating sounds) are skills that are necessary for learning to read.

What are Decodable Readers?

These are books that children can read (sound out) independently.  They usually include simple words like ‘hot’ ‘cat’ ‘fin’ and other words that contain 3 letters that can be blended together.  As children gradually learn more spelling rules such as ‘ch’ as in ‘chop’ or ‘ai’ as in ‘train’ the books incorporate this new knowledge.

There are lots of decodable readers to choose from including;

  • Sounds-Write Series
  • Songbirds by Oxford Reading Tree
  • Little Learners Love Literacy
  • Dandelion Readers
  • Pocket Rockets
  • Fitzroy Readers

Happy Reading!


Books to Support Pretend Play

In one of our earlier posts, we listed 15 ideas for Pretend Play and Language.  This has been one of our most popular posts with parents.  For each pretend play topic (eg Picnic)  we have recommended a picture book as a backup for language development. Reading has so many positive benefits for language and literacy and family connections!  But of course it also extends vocabulary and gives more ideas for your imaginative playtime.

Here is a revised list of 40 books that promote imaginative play.

Click on the title link of the book to purchase at Book Depository.

Post-Office Play


Postman Bear         Peppa’s Post

Birthday Party


Spot’s Birthday Party ,  Happy Birthday Maisy,    Happy Birthday!



Picnic,      Having a Picnic,    We’re Going on a Picnic

Doctor / Vet Play


Olivia Becomes a Vet,     Doctor Maisy,      Mog and the V.E.T.



Maisy Takes a Bath,    In the Bath,      BathTime Peekaboo,      Bathtime

Doing Washing


Washing Line,   Mrs McNosh Hangs up the Wash,    Peppa’s Washing Day



Maisy Goes ShoppingLlama Llama Shopping DramaGoing Shopping



Spot Bakes a CakeEddie’s Kitchen

Ice Cream Shop


Wemberly’s Ice-Cream StarCurious George goes to an Ice-Cream Shop



Mog in the Garden,   Doing the GardenMad about Minibeasts Maisy grows a Garden



Noisy Farm,     Hide & Seek Farm,     Maisy on the Farm   Oh Dear!

Ocean / Beach


Hooray For Fish!   Commotion in the OceanGrandpa & Thomas Noni Pony goes to the Beach



Digger Man,  Dig Dig Digging,  Machines at Work,


happy reading!

(Affiliate links included)

20 Novelty Books for Late Talkers

We have compiled a list of novelty or interactive books for young children who dont like to sit for too long.  Lots of children with language delay also have difficulty listening to and attending to books.  A great way to encourage looking at books is to use books with flaps, touch & feel, zips, puppets and sliders.  This can be a useful bridge into book sharing whilst the childs language and attention skills grow.  These types of books are also great for babies who like to feel and chew on books!

Books that are not quite as useful are those that are battery-operated.  You know the type lots of noises and lights flashing as you turn the page.  These types of books dont allow your child to focus on your voice and the words.  Stay away from books with batteries!

We’ve done the work for you!  All the books are linked to Book Depository with free delivery.  You can click on any of the book titles for more information/availability.

20 interactive books

1. Lulus Lunch by Camilla Reid.  The whole Lulu series is beautifully illustrated and has lots of bits for children to open and close.  There is a sticky bowl of honey, a banana to peel and a bib to attach.  At the end is a bowl of (string) spaghetti!  Lots of fun here and many nice easy early words such as lunch, eat, and many food names.  Easily one of our favourite books at the moment!

2.  Munch! by Matthew Van Fleet.  This crocodile likes to eat different foods.  There is a tab on the side of the book that children can pull to help the crocodiles mouth move.  Prompt words- eat, in, out, munch!

3. Spot on the Move by Eric Hill.  All the Spot books have flaps to lift which are tempting for children.  This book has a finger puppet that can be used through the whole book.  Prompt words- Spot, fly, drive.

4.  This Little Piggy by Scholastic Books.  There are a few books in this series of nursery rhymes.  This hand puppet has a book attached with the words of the rhyme.  Each finger is another piggy!  Children or parent can use the puppet.  Prompt words piggy, weeeeee,home.

5. Grannys Purse by P.Hanson.  This book is for the older toddler as the pages are quite busy. It is in the shape of a purse with its contents spilling out.   These are fun to look at and talk about.  Prompt words- bag, granny, keys.

6.  Playbook Farm .  Another book for an older toddler as there are some fiddly pieces.  This is a farm book with pop up fences and separate cardboard animals that can be put in the yards.  Prompt words baa, moo, cow, fence.

7.  Sleepy or Not, Mr Croc by Jo Lodge.  The pop up crocodile in this book is great fun for moving.  There are also tabs to pull to make him move.  Prompt words sssh,  croc, bed.

8.  Squeak, Squeak Maisy by Lucy Cousins.  Many of the Maisy books have lift the flaps.  This book has a little push button squeeker on the side of the book that your child can press as you look at each page.  The squeaking noise relates to the noises in the book.  Prompt words- squeak, push, again.

9.  Who Says Moo?  by Jane Wolfe.  This book is great for younger children learning animal noises.  Tabs at the side of the book can be pulled to reveal another animal.  Prompt noises moo, baa.

10.  Baby Touch: Moo Moo Tab Book by Ladybird.   Another lovely farm animal book for little fingers.  The large animal tab faces help baby turn the pages.  There are also lots of textures to feel.

11. Tractor by Dawn Sirrett.  The Baby Touch Series by Dorling Kindersley are for babies and younger toddlers.  They are a good quality textured series for babies to feel.  The pages generally have one photo image which is clear and not cluttered.

12. Sleepy Bunny by Golden Books.  This soft cloth book has a bunny attached on a string.  On each page, your baby can pop the bunny into a pocket.  Prompt words bunny, in, out.

13.  This Royal Baby by Zita Newcome.  This colourful book for the older toddler has lots of different baby faces to talk about.  Your toddler can pull the tab to change each page.  Prompt words baby, sad, happy, sleepy.

14.  Hooray! says Peppa Pig.  Another finger puppet book that goes right through the book.  For fans of Peppa Pig this is great for little fingers.  Prompt words- pig, Peppa.

15.  Where is Babys Birthday Cake by Kar en Katz.  Beautiful, attractive pictures for toddlers to look at.  Lots of flaps to look under to find the missing birthday cake.  Prompt words blowing out candles,  hooray, birthday song.

16. Whats in the Witchs Kitchen by Nick Sharratt.  This book is for the older toddler or preschooler with more information on each page.  The witch has lots of things in her kitchen to look at.  Each page has a trick and a treat the ingenious flaps can turn two ways for you to see either the treat (strawberry tea) or a trick (goblin pee)!  Prompt words yum, yuk!

17. Animal hide & Seek by Stephen Cartwright.  Large clear pictures of animals for toddlers to look at.  There are also textures to feel and flaps to lift.  Toddlers can also find the hidden duck on each page!  Prompt words found it!,  up.

18.  Busy Park by Rebecca Finn.  Children can look at all the familiar things in the park and move the tabs.  The see-saw can go up and down,  the gate can close.  Prompt words open, up, down, see saw, swing.

19.  Hungry Monsters by Matt Mitter.  This colourful book has a monster eating something in every room.  Soap in the bathroom, knickers in the bedroom!  Toddlers will have fun looking in his mouth on every page.  Prompt words open, eat.

20.  Busy Railway by Rebecca Finn.  Lots of things are happening at the railway station.  Your toddler can use the tabs to pull up the gate or make the train go.  Prompt words up, go, down, train.

Books for Speech Sounds – ssss

Picture books are a great way for both therapists and parents to help children with some articulation goals.

Today we have compiled a great list of books for working on the s sound both in initial and end word position.  We have chosen repetitive books with lots of opportunity for the preschooler to practice the chosen sound.

This can be used as a quick reference guide with the words listed for practice in each book.

Click on the title (affiliate link) for more book information.

1.  Dear Santa by Rod Campbell.  Target words Santa, so.

2.  Brown Bear Brown Bear what do you see?  by Eric Carle.  Great book for practicing the phrases What do you see.  I see a.

3.  The Wheels on the Bus by Annie Kubler.  Nursery rhymes are great for repetitioukCw4}YϷcL(VdB]vs, bus.

4.  Maisy goes on Vacation by Lucy Cousins.  Target words suitcase, Cyril, seaside, sandcastle, seashells.

5. Thats not my Santa by Fiona Watt.  Nice easy phrase not my Santa.  Other targets soft, sack, mouse.

6. Sizzles, where are you? by Lauren Child. Lift the flaps to find Sizzles.

7. Guess how muh I love you by Sam McBratney.  Target words guess.

8. Mouse Moves House by Phil Roxbee Cox.  Target words -mouse, house, suitcase.

9. Fox in Socks by Dr Suess.  Lots of rhyming fun to be repeated over.

10 Dont Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems.  Target words -bus, please.

11. I Went Walking  Targets see, saw, horse.

12. Silly Sally by Audrey Wood.  Good for different phrases silly sally  silly pig.

13. Peepo by Janet and Allan Ahlberg.  Very good for the repetition of he sits on . what does he see?

14. Doctor Maisy by Lucy Cousins. Target words -nurse, dress, sick, nose.

15. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell.  Target words -zoo, so, sent.

16. Going to the Hospital by Usborne Books.  Target words- six, sick, ears, nurse.

17. Spot can count by Eric Hill.  All counting books are great for six, seven.  Other targets mouse, horse, geese.


Why not download our fun games for ‘s’ and ‘z’ at the TPT Store. – click here

Books for Speech Therapy

Book Lists for Speech & Language Intervention

Are you looking for specific picture books for children?  We have listed lots of books with a focus on;

  • articulation

  • vocabulary

  • syntax

  • phonological awareness

  • narrative

Go to  for all our lists with links to BookDepository !