Phoebe Sounds It Out

By Julie Zwillich and Denise Holmes

From 3 to 7 | 32 pages

Meet Phoebe. Unfortunately, her name doesn’t look quite like it sounds. At school, her classmates practice writing their names, but Phoebe struggles. Her teacher tells her to “just sound it out.” Phoebe doubts herself and procrastinates before resolving to try. Readers are privy to her funny, endearing interior monologue and little-kid rationale as she writes the result: FEEBY.

Told in a relatable, introspective voice, this school story conveys the feelings and worries of a 5-year-old and supports learning about sounds and letters. Readers will see from Phoebe’s fellow kindergartners’ attempts that everyone makes mistakes, and that we can take pride in effort and not just perfection.

"New spellers will relate to Phoebe's dilemma...makes a point about fun with fonicks." - Kirkus Reviews
"Young audiences will enjoy this reassuring tale. Older, more sophisticated scholars who have been introduced to digraphs and blends will love being in the know about Phoebe's unique spelling challenges." - Booklist
"Zwillich's gentle, savvy picture book should leave its mark... An appealing addition to books that introduce the intricate process of writing in an enjoyably creative manner." - School Library Journal
"As a literacy practitioner, I recommend this as a great read-aloud book for scaffolding reading instruction with emergent readers and writers... Reading about the struggles of Phoebe, the quirky likable protagonist, to sound out and write her non-phonetically-spelled name will encourage young writers who need to be reminded that there is no one "right way" to learn how to write and that it's okay to be different." - Kerschel Edward, Literacy Practitioner

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