Discovering Usborne

Recently an Instagram friend recently approached me about how Usborne books would compliment and enhance Reading Noodle. She offered to send me a couple of books to see how they would fit with my product. She specifically sent me phonics based books because my program is purely phonics based. I have had time to read these darling children’s books and am actually really impressed!

I LOVE THESE BOOKS! I received two books, and both books would be incredible assets to any home or school library. My friend also sent me a catalog of books that I have flipped through. I had no idea how many books Usborne had created, and it looks like they just keep making more! The catalog was divided into several categories and those categories were broken up by age group. I saw so many books I am dying to snatch up for my daughter (14 months) who loves flap books, and hard back books.

However, what really caught my eye was an entire section dedicated to phonics! There is a “First Learning” phonics section as well as a “Beginning Reader” section, followed by a “Phonics” section. Each section has TONS of books geared towards that particular reading group.

As a former first grade teacher, I am EXTREMELY picky about books that claim they are phonics based. This is because these kind of books often claim a book only works on Bossy R’s, or Digraphs, or the Magic Es’, but when I flip through the book it doesn’t remain true to the sound/spelling pattern. Instead it adds in harder sound/spelling patterns that students haven’t mastered yet. If it is a true phonics book (in my opinion) then it focuses on the phonics pattern primarily and adds in other sound spelling patterns that would fall in a typical scope and sequence. However, from the books my friend sent me, and the books in the catalog, I have no doubt all of these phonics books would be an incredible companion to each reading noodle box.

How do you know which one will be a companion to which box? Simple! Once you get a hold of a catalog or distributer just focus on the title of the book to identify the sound spelling pattern.

This is the catalog she sent as well, I about cried with joy when I saw the amazing Phonics section!

For example, there is a book titled “Ape’s Great Escape” the sound I hear most is Long A, and it’s even in the title as a_e in Ape and a_e in Escape. The word “great” would be taught as a sight word since it doesn’t follow a sound/spelling pattern. My guess would be this book primarily focuses on the a_e spelling pattern.

Here is another example: “Hen’s Pens” has the short e sound, so this book would be focusing on words with short e. Obviously not all of the words would have short e, but a vast majority would! The other words would either be words with sound/spelling patterns previously taught, and sight words. The more sound/spelling patterns learned and memorized the more you can add into a story!

When you child receives a Reading Noodle box each packet builds upon the last. For example, Box 1 Week 1 starts with short a, so all the words will either be sight words, or words with short a. Box 1 Week 2 moves to short i. Since your child has already learned short a this box includes words with short i and short a and, of course, sight words. It continues that way until you reach Box 7 where all of the sound spelling patterns are used since all have been taught.

While Usborne books may not follow my exact scope and sequence of sound/spelling patterns, their phonics books are done in a way that you could read the title and identify which Reading Noodle week the book would go with. While Reading Noodle includes “readers” specifically tied to the sound/spelling pattern with each week. However, having an actual picture book to heighten your child’s understanding of what was learned that week is an amazing asset to my program!

Here is one book I received: Cow Takes A Bow and other tales


This is probably my favorite book I received! When you open to the first couple of pages it gives a quick description of Phonics and what it means for your young reader. It also goes into detail about Phonemic Awareness (listening for the sounds in words) and how you can help your child as they read. I love that it gives explicit instruction to parents on what to look for and how to best help your reader!

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This book has several stories all phonics based with in. Take a look at some of the stories:



Each story focuses on a specific sound/spelling pattern! The Snail story focuses specifically on the “ai” spelling pattern that says long A. While the Crow story is focused on the “ow” sound that says long O. It’s such an easy way to wrap up a Reading Noodle week with a story from this book.

Things I love to do with young readers when they are reading a story is pre-teach any difficult words, especially sight words. I remind them of the sound worked on in that story as well. I even write down a few practice words that will be read in the story with that sound/spelling pattern and practice reading those words. Then we read!

You can do “my turn, your turn” for struggling readers. This is where you touch the word as you read one sentence and have your reader touch and read after you. Or you can just let your reader practice reading. If they make a mistake while reading try not to correct them until they finish the sentence. Once they finish the sentence go back and just say, “will you read this word to me again?” or something along those lines. Usually they can self-correct, and if they do have them read that sentence again so that word stays corrected in their brain. If they are still making a mistake on that word, stop and have them sound it out (unless its a sight word).

The other book I received is a mixture of several sound/spelling patterns. This would be a great book for a child that is finishing up Reading Noodle and now you want to see their reading in action! Take a look:

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This book is a compilation of stories all related to a farm. Its a thick book with a pretty blue ribbon that can be used to mark your place. It does not focus primarily on one sound/spelling pattern per story, but rather mixes a lot of sound/spelling patterns together. It also comes with an audio CD in the book! This is a great book to add to your family library, and to practice all of the skills learned in Reading Noodle!

My overall take away: These books are incredible. The company has really put so much work and love into helping children learn to read and learn to love reading! I fully endorse using these books as companion readers to Reading Noodle.

How to get a hold of these amazing books:

My friend’s name is Eileen, you can follow her on Instagram @blissful.learning

You can email her about Usborne books at

Most importantly, you can also shop right now HERE

I hope this has been a helpful peek into the wonderful world of Usborne! You can bet I’ll be adding these books and many more to my own personal children’s library! Happy reading!