Jake Monkey-Tail Spelling Book
Have you ever struggled to spell a word? Have you ever heard a word and thought, ‘oh that’s easy to spell’ and then you sound it out really carefully, spell it and then an adult can’t read it?”
Jake Monkey-Tail is a story about a fabulous, colourful little monkey who lives in Monkey Jungle. Every day Jake goes to Monkey school. He has one problem though and that is, that he cannot spell! Every week, Jake gets zero or two out of ten for his spelling test. He realises that he needs to learn how to spell properly if he is ever going to get through school. One day, after a particularly bad spelling test, Jake swings into a magical part of Monkey Jungle. He finds himself surrounded by hundreds of sparkling and dazzling letters. It is there that Jake meets the wise Spelladictionary Monkey, who then guides him in learning to spell in an enchanting and engaging way. Jake soon feels ready for his first 10/10!
Inspirations and ideas
With Jake Monkey-Tail, I had a clear vision of what I was trying to achieve, my aim being to introduce a colourful character who learns to spell in a magical and engaging way. I realised that I needed to be as specific as possible in this story, as there are so many different skills needed when learning to spell, in addition to there being many different stages.
Through my work with children and though discussion with teachers, I have observed that children at Reception level can have some difficulties with the sound to letter and letter to sound association i.e. linking ‘b’ to the letter shape ‘b’ and also visa versa. Therefore, I was very keen on highlighting this difficulty, and to also illustrate some of the additional teaching methods that can be used to make the process of learning letters and then spelling a more meaningful experience.
Specialist teachers will often use, what’s known as a ‘multisensory’ approach to develop spelling skills which complement the everyday use of visual and auditory methods (this describes the simultaneous use of recognising letter shapes with the corresponding sound). ‘Multisensory’ refers to using different sensory systems, to support learning and recall. Typically in schools, children are taught to spell using both visual and auditory sensory systems, as described above. However children who find spelling difficult, need to also access and use additional sensory systems, such as the kinaesthetic sensory system, which incorporates feeling, movement and experiences. Using all these systems in combination supports and develops overall recall and memory skills. Therefore, in Jake Monkey-Tail, Jake is already using his visual and auditory sensory systems, but we also see him accessing the kinaesthetic sensory system, when he is writing in the mud and using his tail to form letters. Lastly, we see Jake visualising diamond clusters on letters (this accesses the visual sensory system) to support and enhance his visual memory of different letter shapes.
Jake is such wonderful little character and you can’t help but feel fond of him once you have read the story. I remember seeing the whole book on the computer before it went to print and feeling as if I had just met a new friend! I hope that children will feel that they have made a new friend in Jake once they have read Jake Monkey-Tail. For parents, I hope Jake Monkey-Tail gives a brief insight into supporting spelling skills and the story is an inspiration on how to create unique ways of spelling at home, especially if weekly spelling revision is always ‘boring’ or ‘too hard’!
|Illustrated by||Emma Hockley|
|Number of Pages||60 pages|