The THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Project -- a Project for Everyone

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THRASS UK has earned a reputation for producing highly successful innovative resources and yesterday the Company launched its new early reading programme, the THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Project. The project uses 44 songs to help children, and also older learners, to develop their literacy skills, while at the same time having an enormous amount of fun. And it really is a project for everyone, with a range of resources that will appeal to teachers, parents, grandparents and children over a wide age range and from many different backgrounds.

The moon fell out of the sky

THRASS UK has earned a reputation for producing highly successful innovative resources and yesterday the Company launched its new early reading programme, the THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Project. The project uses 44 songs to help children, and also older learners, to develop their literacy skills, while at the same time having an enormous amount of fun. And it really is a project for everyone, with a range of resources that will appeal to teachers, parents, grandparents and children over a wide age range and from many different backgrounds.

The THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Project revolves around 44 songs that teachers and parents can sing with children to explain the 44 sounds and 120 main spelling choices of English, with each song focusing on one of the 44 sounds and its main spelling choices. The songs are featured throughout all the THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Resources, which currently comprise a 96-page hard back book, an interactive book and audio CD, each with vocal and instrumental tracks, and a colouring book; a sheet music book will be available later in the year. All the resources are really easy to use and parents, grandparents, pre-school staff and teachers can use them to teach speaking, listening, reading and spelling skills. Older children can also use them to teach their younger brothers and sisters.

The THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Project is the brainchild of British educational psychologist, Alan Davies, an expert in synthetic phonics who has pioneered the extremely successful THRASS (Teaching Handwriting Reading And Spelling Skills) synthetic phonics programme. Alan worked with a truly international team - 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 - to develop the resources that make up the THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Project and so they should have a truly international appeal.

Janine Plunkett, who wrote the SING-A-LONG songs and worked with Alan Davies to develop the THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Resources, wanted them to be an education in music and it was for this reason that she decided to write the songs in different musical styles. They all have really memorable tunes and provide a good introduction to a large number of different musical styles and dance rhythms from around the world, such as African Round, blues, Charleston, Hawaiian, Irish Dance, jazz, ragtime, reggae, twist and waltz. And they all have wonderful imaginative titles such as "The moon fell out of the sky", "A great big gorilla" and "You don't get pandas in Africa".

Janine and Alan didn't want parents and teachers just to sing the songs with children; they also wanted every teacher, every parent, every grandparent and every member of pre-school staff to move to the music with children to help them read and spell. But they appreciated that singing and moving to music do not come easily to most adults, so they created MOVE-A-LONG WITH SING-A-LONG one-day workshops for parents and teachers, in order to give them group experience of singing, dancing and performing actions to the 44 songs. They will be running THRASS MOVE-A-LONG WITH SING-A-LONG workshops in the UK, South Africa and the Caribbean, and a MOVE-A-LONG WITH SING-A-LONG DVD will be available later in the year.

And the songs really do appeal to all age groups. Everyone who has heard the SING-A-LONG songs has been really impressed and THRASS UK has been inundated with requests for the SING-A-LONG theme song. The THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Project is primarily targeted at younger children but the children who took part in yesterday's launch at Holy Rosary School in Johannesburg ranged from age 9 to 13 and they all enjoyed rehearsing the songs and movements so much that their parents reported that all they had been hearing at home was the SING-A-LONG songs! Reactions to a pilot MOVE-A-LONG WITH SING-A-LONG Workshop held earlier this month in Johannesburg were also extremely positive.

The THRASS synthetic phonics programme has enjoyed considerable success in many countries and in many different types of schools from farm schools in the Kwena Basin, Mpumalanga and township schools in Orange Farm, Johannesburg, to prestigious independent schools such as the Crawford Schools, the largest group of independent schools in South Africa. The THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Project, which in South Africa is sponsored by Absa Bank, a member of the Barclays Group, and Pritt, now looks set to have the same broad appeal. Holy Rosary School, where the launch took place, is a privileged all girls school in Edenvale, Johannesburg but 400 children from Roseneath Primary School, a co-educational government school in Parktown, who attended the final rehearsal, all enjoyed the SING-A-LONG songs just as much.

THRASS UK is not alone in recognising the value of building music and, in particular, singing into young children's everyday lives. The British Government is also trying to do so through its Sing Up project. However, although the Sing Up website has a selection of resources available to teachers, parents have only limited access to these. In complete contrast, the THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Project has a whole range of resources that are fun to use and are readily available to everyone.

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/teaching.htm

For information about the THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Project, visit http://www.thrass.co.uk/sing-a-long.htm

For information about the THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Resources, visit http://www.thrass.co.uk/list2008.htm

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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THRASS
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