Phono-Graphix in Britain

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New Reading Scheme to be Piloted in Camden (Taken from the Camden LEA website August 2003)

A revolutionary new way of teaching children to read is being piloted in Camden. The method, called Phonographix, is being used in the borough's schools by the council's education psychology team to teach children who have particular difficulty reading - and it's getting very promising results*

So far evidence suggests that children who complete the 12 to 18-hour programme generally make gains of between two and four years in their reading age.

Netley Primary School pupil Ryan French, 10, of Camden, is being taught using the new system. He said it made a huge difference;

"It's great because I love reading and now I'm finding it much easier," he said. "It helps with everything at school because before I couldn't read the questions in things like maths tests, but now I understand them more."

Ryan's dad Brendan added: "I was shocked when Ryan started using phonographix by just how quickly his reading improved. He's always had trouble reading and it really frustrated him, but now he seems to be learning quicker and easier than ever before, which gives him more confidence."

The system encourages children to understand that letters are pictures of sounds, and to relate each 'picture' to the right sound. It deals solely with the sounds that letters represent, on their own or in combinations, instead of the conventional teaching method that also names each letter.

Using 140 sound pictures, it works on the basis that children already know how to talk, so they know what all the sounds are, they just need to be taught how to relate those sounds to specific letters or combinations of letters. From the first l text, not in isolation.

Phonographix also teaches children how to blend the sounds for reading and separate them for spelling in a systematic way that builds over time.

Claire Bolitho, educational psychologist at Camden's Local Education Authority said; "Phonographix began in America a few years ago and is just reaching this country now. We have all been very impressed with the results. It's a straightforward approach, helping children who have had trouble reading make great progress very quickly which has a positive impact on their learning and how they feel about themselves in the classroom."

Camden's LEA has trained 20 people to use the method, including the council's educational psychologists and teachers from throughout the borough. Phonographix is currently being used to teach a small number of junior and secondary aged pupils in the borough.

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