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The SPEC Reading Scheme is a New Zealand scheme written by Carolyn

Baines and illustrated by Sarah Parry.

It has been designed to use with students who are struggling to learn to read.  

This ‘fun’ approach has a highly structured framework, in which students learn 100

common sight words, using picture cues and word games, and a workbook, before

receiving the story books.

The first story book Spike, contains just 20 sight words.  

The story books come in an A5 format and contain 32 pages.

The students learn the words using robust A5 ‘Discussion Cards’.

The sight word learning is consolidated by using smaller picture and

word cards in games such as:

There is a workbook for each of the story books too, so

students read the learned words in simple sentences and respond to an

instruction, introducing simple comprehension exercises.  

The workbook also provides the opportunity to learn to write the words both

individually and in short sentences.

The sentences only use the sight words that the student has learned

for each book.

When teachers are sure that the 20 sight words have been learned thoroughly,

and students can recognise them without error, the reward is to receive the story

book. Each one containing 20 new sight words that accumulate in number, until in

book 5 they can read the whole 100 words.

Story 6 consolidates the learning of the whole 100 words plus some compound

words made up of the sight words learned.  

In the first six books the vocabulary is carefully chosen to include instructional

words, common everyday words, and words that are needed to construct a story.

The highly structured activities and control of vocabulary ensures that students

develop the self confidence and motivation needed in students who have

experienced ‘failure’ probably several times over, and are now reluctant to

try again. This is a different approach with a fun sequential story, and a structure

that ensures they will have success.

Other considerations made when producing the materials, was to use a font that

was clear and common to most, and a size that was easy on the eyes.  

So the reading books and words cards are all done using the Arial font.

The workbook however, use SassoonPrimaryInfant font which is similar to

the hand writing model.

You will notice when receiving the reading books and workbooks, that a very pale

blue has been used as the background colour to the pages, that should assist

any student with dyslexic type issues.

Finally the pictures on the word cards and the illustrations in both the workbooks

and reading books are original, current, exciting and focused on New Zealand with

a story line that amuses young children and adults alike, so the materials are not

related to any specific age group.

Click on the links on the right to find out more.

A New Zealand Reading Scheme

A structured and fun way to teach reading

Click here to read about Book 1

Click here for Teacher Guidelines

Click here for information on Workbooks

Click here for information on Flash Cards

Click here for what’s in the Starter Packs

Click here for Parent’s page

Click here to read about Book 2

Click here to read about Book 3

Click here to read about Book 4

Click here to read about Book 5

Click here to read about Book 6

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