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Once upon a time, a little girl discovered a secret. She stood a stool on a chair on a box and climbed on top of the whole teetering pile. Reaching up, she teased a book from the top of the bookshelf with her fingertips, and clutched it to her as she climbed down. She took it into the light and blew the dust from its cover, and as the dust flew into the shaft of light, she saw something that changed her life. That dust wasn’t the normal kind of dust – as it floated and glittered in the light, she knew that it was the sign of something magical. It was fairy dust, and it meant there was a fairy in the book, reading and loving the story, bringing it to life, crying with the characters who are lost, afraid with the girl alone in the woods, laughing with the two jolly knights. This girl, the one who had climbed on a stool on a chair on a box, this girl had found the Phonic Fairy, who had come to share her love of stories with the little girl.



This is what I tell the children who take part in my Phonic Fairy lessons. I tell them I am that fairy. I tell them I have come to share my love of stories. I tell them that if they ever find dust on a book, they should take it into a shaft of light. If the dust glitters and sparkles, then it means I have been inside reading, maybe transforming into the characters for fun, travelling to various locations, travelling into another world.

StoryTime Phonics - phonic teaching games

“Are you really a Fairy?” one of them will ask.

Well, how do you begin to answer that? Why don’t they listen to the story, I say, once they’re in the story, they’ll know that I am a fairy, because there will be magic happening all around them. Some of them don’t quite believe me, but there’s a little bit of everyone that can’t help playing along.

I read to the children – real books by a range of over fifty amazing authors like Nick Sharratt, Allen & Janet Albhurg, Quentin Blake, Michael Rosen and Mini Grey. And now, now there’s nothing these children can’t do. They are captivated in the stories and their brains are bubbling over with words and language and learning. Listen to the rhythms, listen to the rhymes, listen to the patterns. What will happen next? Where will they go, what will they see?

StoryTime Phonics - phonic teaching games

Copyright © 2007 Usborne Publishing Ltd, From THE DINOSAUR WHO LOST HIS ROAR by Russell Punter, Reproduced by permission of Usborne Publishing Ltd, www.usborne.com

In reality, I have had the most incredible job over the last couple of years. I have been working to create videos for a reading programme I have developed based on a love of literature, using systematic teaching of phonics alongside wonderful books by some of the best authors in the UK. I play the Phonic Fairy who lives in libraries on bookshelves. I fly into fabulous books (with the help of my book wings) and turn into characters travelling to exciting locations.

At the end of each story I fly out of the book and use my magic pencil wand to teach the children how to write the focused sound. The Phonic Fairy uses her magic pencil wand to then teach the focused phoneme along with the Caption Action, to help children store the sounds into their long term memory. The lessons are fun and truly multi-sensory. For instance, while filming the lesson Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt, I flew on a zip wire shouting ‘ar’ like Tarzan. Children adore and remember the concepts, they laugh out loud and more importantly connect reading with pleasure.

I am currently creating a further range of school-based videos, demonstrating how the Phonic Fairy can translate into real teaching in real schools with real pupils. These videos should support teachers to develop their own teaching of phonics, using the StoryTime phonics programme.

Storytime phonics - phonic teaching games

Reading is the most important skill of a child’s life; I hope to give every child their own set of book-wings, because once they can read, they will fly too. Some of the children I teach believe that I was that little girl, wobbling dangerously on top of the stool. In a way, I was. And in a way, these children are too, and I just hope that they get to be part of the magic of reading.

Join us in Cambridge for an inspirational day of phonics training with Michelle Larbey on Monday 4th July 2016.

This exciting course will give practical advice on providing a systematic approach to teaching phonics. Supporting from reception through to year 2, using Letters and Sounds, within the context of real books.

The day is perfect for Headteachers and Literacy Co-ordinators or Reading Champions. Michelle will demonstrate how to differentiate whole class phonics whilst making lessons multi-sensory, memorable and fun. Dr Fiona Maine will also be joining us to demonstrate how to develop children’s language and comprehension skills using the StoryTime Phonics approach.

We are offering each school one FREE TICKET to the event, but places are limited to 100 so please book immediately to avoid disappointment!

For more detail contact Hannah Leaning: hleaning@tts-group.co.uk

To book tickets click here

STORYTIME PHONICS agenda

For more ideas and inspiration about the love of phonics – also written by Michelle –  please click on the links below:

For the Love of Phonics – Part 1 – why do we teach it?

For the Love of Phonics – Part 2 – why children need stories

For the Love of Phonics – Part 3 – why context is so important

Book credits:
From MISTER MAGNOLIA by Quentin Blake, Published by Red Fox, Reprinted by permission of The Random House Group Limited, London SW1V SA, www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk
From SHARK IN THE PARK by Nick Sharratt, Published by Corgi Childrens, Reprinted by permission of The Random House Group Limited, London SW1V SA, www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk 
From BEEGU by Alexis Deacon, Published by Red Fox, Reprinted by permission of The Random House Group Limited, London SW1V SA, www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk
From YETI & THE BIRD by Nadia Shireen, Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Reprinted by permission of The Random House Group Limited, London SW1V SA, www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk
Text Copyright © 1989 Michael Rosen, Illustrations Copyright ©1989 Helen Oxenbury, From WE’RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT  by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, Reproduced by permission of Walker Books Ltd, London SE11 5HJ, www.walker.co.uk
From LOST IN THE TOY MUSEUM by DAVID LUCAS, Reproduced by permission of Walker Books Ltd, London SE11 5HJ, www.walker.co.uk


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