Why the Phono-Graphix® Reading Therapy program works
Written English is a sound picture code
This means that each sound in a word is represented by a symbol, or sound picture.
Some sounds are shown with one letter, some are shown with 2 or more
The English language contains sound pictures that are made with one letter, such as the sound pictures in the word cat. Each letter represents one sound. Many sound pictures are made with two or more letters, such as the oa in boat and the ou in out.
There is variation in the code
Most sounds can be represented by more than one sound picture. The sound ‘s’ for instance can be represented in these ways:
s a t c i t y v oi ce h ou se m i ss
There is overlap in the code
The same sound picture that can spell the sound ‘ee’ in beach spells the sound ‘e’ in bread and the sound ‘a-e’ in steak.
Most reading programs are developmentally inappropriate
Traditional Phonics programmes ask the child to learn the written code backwards. They teach the child that letters make sounds rather than that sounds can be represented with sound pictures.
This backwards strategy is developmentally impossible for a young child to understand. Imposing it on children sets them up for failure from the very beginning.
Phonics programmes also rely on rules to teach children about the code. These rules are based on propositional logic which, as we’ve known since Piaget, is beyond the reasoning of a young child. In addition, Phonics rules are erroneous, leaving the child to believe the code is unreliable.
When Phonics was the primary reading method, the illiteracy rate was 33% (US Department of Education 1979).
The other popular reading method, Whole Language, asks the child to learn to read by reading. While reading will improve skills already learned, and offer children a love of literature, it will not teach them to read. When Whole Language was the primary reading method, the illiteracy rate was 42% (Report Card on the Nation & States, 1993).
In dramatic contrast to the abysmal success rates of Phonics and Whole Language, Phono-Graphix® has a success rate of 98% (Orton Annals of Dyslexia, 1996).