Blog - News

​Response to the article in Teacher Magazine titled: Using picture story books (PSBs) in the classroom

Barbara Murray - Monday, August 26, 2019

Melissa Wray’s research findings with regards to picture story books are totally in accordance with my experience in the classroom as explained below. She carried out a research project that informed her thesis, as part of her Master of Education studies with Deakin University, that investigated teachers’ use of PSBs from Foundation to Year 6.

Refer to her article here:

Literacy teaching was my passion in all year levels in primary schools over a period of thirty years. Later, I shared my experiences as co-author of Sound Waves, a whole school phonemic approach to spelling. This program was designed to engage students through interesting and pleasurable activities while learning to understand our language and how we use the alphabet to represent the 43 sounds we use to speak our language, in written form. The program aims at developing efficient encoding and decoding skills allowing students to move quickly and confidently on to higher levels of language such as comprehending and composing various genre.

Stories to introduce the sounds to beginning readers and writers became evident through requests from teachers. Consequently, I wrote stories as part of the Foundation Teacher Book for teachers to read to the student group. However, early learners respond better to visual aids so I decided to publish a set of 43 illustrated stories to introduce the 43 sounds we use in the words we speak. There isn’t a complete set of stories introducing the 43 sounds anywhere in the marketplace.

Illustrations with stories are far more engaging for any age group but especially for young students. Consequently, I set out to find a colourful and imaginative illustrator. After several attempts, I found Sarah Hardy who illustrated my stories beautifully using bright colours and creating engaging characters. Eventually, I even revised some stories to suit Sarah’s strengths as an illustrator.

Whole class introductions to the sounds can be read from the four Sound Stories hardcover books which form a set contained in a box brightly covered with Sarah’s illustrations. Schools purchasing a boxed set can apply for free PDFs to enable projection of the stories onto an interactive whiteboard.

Small group participation using the Sound Stories is invaluable in catering for the requirements of individual students. Sounds can be further explored and practised. The stories also work very well when English is not a student’s first language.

The narrative genre is used for most of the Sound Stories so teachers can use them as examples when introducing the features of that genre.

Grapheme exposure is an attractive feature of the books for teachers of all primary school levels. They find the wide variety of graphemes for each sound invaluable.

Reading for pleasure is a further admirable feature of the Sound Stories books. Older children enjoy the tongue-twisting alliteration as well as the quirky characters and plots.

Barbara Murray


Post has no comments.
Post a Comment

Captcha Image

Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.