The THRASS Family SING-A-LONG Project -- Bringing Together Singing and Literacy Skills

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Everyone knows just how important it is for children to develop sound literacy skills from an early age and it is also widely accepted that music, and in particular singing, can have a wide range of benefits for children. Now British Educational Psychologist, Alan Davies, is set to launch a new project, the THRASS Family SING-A-LONG Project, that will use 44 songs to enable children, and also older learners, to develop their literacy skills, while at the same time deriving many other benefits and having an enormous amount of fun.

The moon fell out of the sky

Everyone knows just how important it is for children to develop sound literacy skills from an early age and it is also widely accepted that music, and in particular singing, can have a wide range of benefits for children. Now British Educational Psychologist, Alan Davies, is set to launch a new project, the THRASS Family SING-A-LONG Project, that will use 44 songs to enable children, and also older learners, to develop their literacy skills, while at the same time deriving many other benefits and having an enormous amount of fun.

THRASS UK has already earned a reputation for producing highly successful innovative resources for helping children to read and spell as part of its widely-acclaimed THRASS (Teaching Handwriting Reading And Spelling Skills) phonics programme, and the new THRASS Family SING-A-LONG Project will use 44 songs that parents and others can sing with children to explain the 44 sounds and 120 main spelling choices of English. The songs have really memorable tunes in different musical styles and wonderful imaginative titles such as "The moon fell out of the sky", "A great big gorilla" and "You don't get pandas in Africa". They will be available on an interactive book and an audio CD, which will be complemented by a 96-page hard-back book and a colouring book. And the resources will have a truly universal appeal, as Alan Davies has developed them with the help of experts from around the world: a music specialist in South Africa, an artist in Australia, and a computer programmer and Alan's wife, an experienced teacher and teacher-trainer, in the UK.

Singing can benefit children in all sorts of different ways and there are many reasons why singing is such a great activity for them, and for adults too. Group singing is particularly powerful in its ability to create a sense of shared purpose, social unity and collective enjoyment. Singing is good for children's health, as it improves circulation, breathing and posture, and when combined with movement also helps to combat obesity and increase general physical fitness. And it is also good for their emotional well-being, as it can help them express their emotions, and increase their confidence and communication skills. But perhaps the most important benefit is that singing has been shown to accelerate learning and improve the memory. Very young children have been shown to increase the amount, quality and understanding of speech developed through singing activities.

This is readily born out by the experience of Chris Griffiths, International Development Manager at THRASS UK, who has been amazed at the rapid progress that his five-year-old daughter has already made after just a few days of listening to an advance copy of the audio CD. "My five-year-old's response to the SING-A-LONG CD has convinced me of the tremendous potential of the THRASS Family SING-A-LONG project. We played the CD for her in the car while driving around the UK over Christmas and within the space of a single journey she knew all the tunes and also many of the words to the songs. She is also now very quickly learning all the different sounds and spelling choices and already knows, for example, that there are two 'd's in ladder but only one in dog, one 'p' in panda but 2 'p's in hippo, and much more; and we each now have our favourite songs. This really is the most wonderful resource and I am sure the project is going to be extremely successful wherever it is implemented."

Parents need to understand and use four 'searchlights' for reading with their children: a 'Word Recognition Searchlight', a 'Phonics Searchlight', a 'Context Searchlight' and a 'Grammar Searchlight', and the THRASS Family SING-A-LONG Project will help them to understand synthetic phonics alongside the three other 'Searchlights'. The project will increase their confidence in identifying the one-, two- and three-letter spelling choices in English words and saying the sounds that they represent and make it much easier for both children and adults to master the sounds and spelling choices of English.

The THRASS Family SING-A-LONG Project will be launched on 31 January at Holy Rosary School, Edenvale, South Africa, where children from 14 schools will be giving the world premiere of the songs that make up the project. The concert will be attended by VIPs and international delegates to the THRASS Absa TalkTogether Conference that is being hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand on 31 January and 1 February. Together with parents, teachers and children from schools in the area, they will have the chance to see the tremendous potential of the THRASS Family SING-A-LONG Project and resources for bringing together singing and literacy to help children, and older learners too, to develop their literacy skills. Further concerts will take place later in the year in South Africa, the UK and the Caribbean.

The THRASS extensive picture-based training website for schools and parents with easy access to a wide range of resources and support materials and extensive evidence of the widespread success of THRASS is at http://www.thrass.co.uk

For more information about the THRASS Absa TalkTogether Project, visit http://www.talktogether.co.za and http://www.thrass.co.uk/talktogether.htm

For details of THRASS Professional Development Courses that are held regularly in the UK, Europe, West and Southern Africa and elsewhere, visit http://www.thrass.co.uk/courses.htm

Issued by: THRASS UK News Media Centre http://www.thrass.co.uk/nm.htm

Mike Meade, Media Director, +44 1829 741413 Mob: 07970 151 738

Chris Griffiths, International Development, +30 266 203 1207

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CHRIS GRIFFITHS
THRASS
+441829741413
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