Teaching Reading Using the Phono-GraphixTM in the book ‘Reading Reflex’
We came across this book when our d was 18 months old as a result of a feature on Radio 4. We read the book which is a complete teaching reading manual and then made use of parts of it when teaching our d to read. We did not adhere slavishly to the book and it has to be said that our d did quite a bit of the work of teaching herself to read. Once we had got going she seemed to take off of her own accord reading everything in site from cereal packets to printing on her bike frame!
Before we found the above book we had already invested in a tub of magnetic letters from the early learning centre. We taught our d the phonetic alphabet starting off with ‘d’ for daddy, ‘m’ for mummy, ‘H’ for Hannah etc so she had a grasp of initial letter sounds before we started.
Phonographix starts off with games which encourage children to think about how a word is a group of sounds blended together. So, you pick a 3sound word and say the sounds in segmented fashion e.g. d o g The child guesses the word. If they make a mistake sound it out again emphasising the bit they got wrong. Stick to words which use the common sound of each single letter. So words like cat, hat, peg, hot, hit, etc. When the child can segment words you can take it in turns to be the segmenter and blender of words.
Now play a game where you say “I’m thinking of something you wear beginning with ‘h'”. Encourage child to guess an item of clothing (hat). This is a sort of eye spy. You can play it with animals, food anything that appeals.
Building 3 sound words. The book has lots of examples of such words with in a form where you cut out a picture of the word (cat, say) and then have the 3 letters. You encourage the child to choose the picture for the first sound in ‘Cat’ (the picture being ‘C’) You go on with the second sound and third to build up the word. The book goes on to blend the sounds and then write them on a piece of paper while saying them. Since our d’s linguistic skills were far in advance of her fine motor skills we didn’t do any of the mapping at this stage. We used our magnetic letters to build all sorts of 3 sound words.
A game which our d really enjoyed from the book involved starting with a 3 sound word and then exchanging letters (they call them sound pictures) to make new words. You put out a selection of letters and then make the first word. Say you start with ‘dog’. you ask the child to choose from the selection of letters and change dog into cog. Then cog into cot. Then cot into cat and so you go on and on. our d used to love doing these.
The book goes on to give some simple stories that children can now read. No sight words needed. I thought they were very contrived but Dd loved them!
The book goes on with building in adjacent consonants and then on to what it calls the ‘advanced code’. We used various bits from the book at this stage.
However we stopped following the lessons prescriptively as Dd just took off reading. We had, of course, always been reading books to her from about 4 months on (OK she ate them at 4 months) and she loved all sorts including some Dr Seuss books. These proved good early reading material with lots of repetition, rhyme and a zany sense of the ridiculous which appealed to Dd!
The ‘reading reflex’ is not a cheap book (ours cost £23 in 1998). The method appealed to us and worked well with our d.
If anyone wanted more information about either the book or how we used it then email on firstname.lastname@example.org
(Written by a MuddlePuddle Member)