Fat Cat on a Mat and Other Tales


I did not grow up learning phonics. How did I learn to read and spell? I suppose it was pure memory work. These days you will often hear how important it is to start a child off with phonics and how it has a positive impact on children’s literacy.

Despite it being part of Usborne’s Phonics Readers Series, we do not use this book to “teach” my son any phonics. We use it just like any other storybook – read aloud. I do not suppose he is too young to learn phonics (even if it involves only teaching him a couple of sounds), my aim goal of “storytime” is for us to enjoy reading as an activity together more than the goal of getting him to read independently from a young age.

We love this book for various reasons.

Theo enjoys finding the famous “yellow duck” on each page and the rhythm in the stories. He soon learnt all the characters in the book as they reappear in the twelve stories. Each page isn’t too wordy but means it is suited for very young children who do not have the attention span yet to finish a long book. The plot in each story is also easy enough for a toddler to understand and follow which helps because it provides the adult readers with topics to discuss with their children. I usually ask simple questions like “What happened to Fat Cat?”, “Who built the road?”, “Was there really a shark in the park?” and so on.

The audio CD is a bonus for me. There are times when it would be impossible to get Theo to sit down to read a book because he simply wants to play just like a normal child. I could sit in the room to read aloud to him because it doesn’t bother me that he’s not sitting still to listen, but I also love to have the option of just popping the CD into a CD player.



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