MY FAVORITE PRE-PRIMER

This pre-primer is called "Sun Up." It's out-of-print and deserves to remain alive. I can e-mail it to you as an attachment--at no charge--if you e-mail me at

It is 72 pages and 724 words long but uses only 32 words, all of which have been made phonetic by the color code. For dyslexics, late bloomers, and at-risk beginners, this is a recipe for fluency unmatched by shorter books with longer word lists.


I have color-coded my copy of Sun Up because it's for young beginners, even though I don't color-code books for children who are beyond primer level. More advanced children can learn their new words in color and make the transition to black words before starting each book.

A young beginner shouldn't be asked to sound the words out off the page. The 32 words should be decoded and well practiced before starting the book. In fact, it usually takes at least six lessons to prepare them. Being able to learn the words gradually and having words that don't all look alike help to make things more automatic. This way the book is not an obstacle course full of consonant-blend words. It's the reward for a job well done.

Before starting on these 32 words, a child should be able to
1 - pronounce the sounds for the 26 letters, including the short vowels.
The Mnemonic Picture Game can be used for his.
2 - decode three-letter words.
The Packets Games can be used for this.
3 - pronounce the 18 vowels that go with the Color Code.
The Basic Color Code Package is used for this.

To prepare the words for this book, you need
1 - The Transition Packets.
2 - Home-made go-fish games.
3 - Home-made word cards for the 32 words.

Both the Color Code and the Transition Packets come with manuals and can be used for other books as well. I can e-mail you the numbers for the packets that prepare for this book. I can also e-mail you the words for the fish games and the word cards that are coordinated with the packets. Making your own fish games and word cards can save you money, but if you want me to make them for you, I'll have to charge for ink and shipping.
For children who can already handle three-letter words, I have found this book to be easier than most books for children at this level. In a phonetic series, when you go beyond the books with three-letter words, the vocabulary tends to expand too rapidly for an at-risk child. To make things more difficult, there are too many words with consonant blends (like grab and slip and plant). Also, words with "crazy" non-phonetic spellings are thrown into the mix to be memorized at sight. With the color code, all the words are phonetic, even the crazy ones--and the book uses only 32 words..
Although I usually follow Sun Up with the six trade books listed below. There are two more books in this series, however, which I can send (free) as  attachments. These are partially color-coded, leaving the three-letter words and the words a, the, and to in black.

Usually, I follow Sun Up with the following six trade books. They are well-known and are popular with first-grade children. In fact, children this age seem to enjoy doing a book which is already familiar--knowing every word and not just guessing.

Inside Outside Upside DownGo Dog Go
Bears on Wheels  Put Me in the Zoo
Ten Apples Up On  Top   Are You My Mother

These six books can be bought or ordered from a book store or borrowed from the library. To prepare the new (not yet introduced) words for each book, you can use both the Transition Packets and the Color-Matching Games (for the tricky words). The numbers for the packets and games are listed on two-sided cards (in color on one side and in black on the other). The Color-Matching Games are described on the Color Code page.

After these books, I use the Nine Tales, which are in black and white, with  large print and double spacing and color-matching games for preparing the new words. Beyond the Nine Tales, I have rewritten some books (neither classics nor current books) that I can e-mail to you. These are for bright third and fourth graders who would have trouble with sixth-grade vocabulary but enjoy following good stories like these. 

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