“Songbirds” is a complete phonic reading scheme of 60 books, and is part of the Oxford Reading Tree.

“A pedigree scheme worth every penny for helping children get to grips with words, sounds and spelling patterns, and to inspire a love of reading. . . . a high quality, powerful storytelling scheme written by one of the best." Teach Primary

Julia says ...

Creating this series was my favourite kind of challenge. Almost every word in every book had to be phonically decodable, and yet I wanted to write proper stories which children would enjoy reading. I also wanted them to be really varied, as I know how children’s tastes differ. So some of the stories are in prose, some in rhyme, some are realistic and others fantastical. There are a few non-fiction titles, a play and a quiz, and the books are illustrated by a wonderful variety of artists. I think my favourite characters are Spike who says he can dive, drive and feed wild lions, and a kleptomaniac kangaroo called Sue who comes to school and steals the spoons and glue.

I had a lot of fun during the first Coronavirus lockdown making a storytelling broadcast of three of the stories. You can watch that here.

For an outline of the entire scheme and the phonetic contents, click here.

There are also eight Songbirds collections for home use, each volume containing between six and twelve stories, and I’m delighted that these and also the individual titles (all signed by me!) are now available from my local bookshop.

Here are the covers of all 60 books plus the eight collections. Click on a cover for buying options.

Stage 1+

Measures a sound to one letter. Teaches the short vowel sounds and all consonants except x and q.

Top Cat
Sam’s Pot
Bob Bug
Dig, Dig, Dig!
Zak and the vet
Mum Bug’s Bag

More Stage 1+

These books revise all the phonics taught in Stage 1+, i.e. matching a sound to one letter and covering the short vowel sounds and the consonants except for x and q (though the final book introduces x).

Cat Naps
Pen Fun
The Big Cod
The Pins and the Pegs
Is it?
Mix mix mix

Stage 2

Matches a sound to one letter or more than one letter. Teaches two consonants making one sound; double consonants (ll, zz, ff, ss) and th, sh, ch, wh, ck, ng. Teaches qu, x, and revises short vowels and consonants.

The Odd Pet
Miss! Miss!
This and That
Fish and Chips
Singing Dad
Doctor Duck

More Stage 2

Teaches words with consonant clusters making more than one sound, and revises ck, x, qu, th, ch, sh, wh, ll, ff, ss, zz, and all short vowels and consonants learnt in Stages One and Two.

Mr Zed
The Ox and the Yak
The Doll in the Bin
Animal Quiz
The Seven Kids
Ron Rabbit’s Egg

Stage 3

Teaches words with consonant clusters making more than one sound, and revises ck, x, qu, th, ch, sh, wh, ll, ff, ss, zz, and all short vowels and consonants learnt in Stages One and Two.

The Big Match
The Shopping List
Gran is cross
The Trunk and the Skunk
The Scrap Rocket
Splash and Squelch

More Stage 3

These books revise all the phonics learnt in stages 1-3: the short vowel sounds a, e, i, o and u; consonants and double consonants; two consonants making one sound th, sh, ch, wh, ng, ck; and consonant clusters making more than one sound at beginning and ends of words (e.g. elf, lift). In addition, one letter pattern for each of the common long vowels sounds is taught:  ee (as in three), ie (as in tie), oa (as in toad), ai (as in train) oo (as in too and also as in good).

Ron Rabbit’s Big Day
The Wishing Elf
Bob Bug and the Insect Club
Where is Snail?
Stop Chatting, Bill
Back to Bed

Stage 4

These books introduce all the common spelling patterns of the following long vowel sounds:
ee (tree, sea, jelly, he), ie (tie, why, night, mine, diving), oa (boat, home, bowl, no), ai (rain, day, make, raven)

In addition, the spelling patterns wr and kn are taught.

Queen Aneena’s Feast
Spike Says
The Wrong Kind of Knight
Moan, Moan, Moan!
The Snake and the Drake
Tadpoles

More Stage 4

These books revise the long vowel sounds and spelling patterns taught in Stage 4, and all the short vowels and consonants taught in previous stages. Book 6 also features oo as in food.

The Red Man and the Green Man
Pirates
Tails
Pen Pals
My Cat
Tim’s Bad Mood

Stage 5

These books introduce all the common spelling patterns of the following long vowel sounds:
ue (as in blue) with the letter patterns  oo, ew, ue, u-e, o
oo (as in look) with the letter patterns oo, u, oul
ow (as in down) with the letter patterns ow, ou
oi (as in join) with the letter patterns oi, oy

Additionally, they teach the soft ce/ci sound (as in dance/cinema), and er (as in sister).

Sue Kangeroo
The Cinderella Play
Usman’s Books
The Upside-Down Browns
Leroy
No Milk Today

Stage 6

This stage introduces the vowel sounds ar (as in star), au (as in August), ur (as in fur), air (as in hair), ar (as in star), ear (as in near), and ure (as in pure). Book 6 teaches the soft g/dge letter patterns (as in giant/bridge), and the ea (as in tread) spelling pattern.

Tara’s Party
Paula the Vet
Where were you , Bert?
Clare and the Fair
The Deer and the Earwig
Jack and the Giants

Collections

Below are the covers of the eight collections of my Songbirds Phonics stories, in graded order.

Bob Bug and other stories
Singing Dad and other stories
Ron Rabbit’s Egg and other stories
The Trunk and the Skunk and other stories
Spike Says and other stories
Tim’s Bad Mood and other stories
Usman’s Books and other stories
Clare and the Fair and other stories