International Sponsorship For New THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Project

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THRASS UK has already been extremely successful at securing international sponsorship for its THRASS synthetic phonics programme and related resources. And now the company has been successful yet again with its new THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Project that was launched at the end of last week.

You don't get pandas in Africa

THRASS UK has already been extremely successful at securing international sponsorship for its THRASS synthetic phonics programme and related resources. And now the company has been successful yet again with its new THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Project that was launched at the end of last week.

2007 was extremely successful for THRASS UK, with the highlight of the year the corporate sponsorship of the THRASS (Teaching Handwriting Reading And Spelling Skills) synthetic phonics programme by Absa Bank, a member of the Barclays Group, in South Africa; THRASS and Absa Bank launched the THRASS Absa TalkTogether Project in July. But now 2008 looks set to be even more successful. Absa Bank and Pritt have just become the founding principal sponsors of the THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Project in South Africa and major construction company, Murray & Roberts, is set to become an associate sponsor of the Project in early childhood development centres in Soweto and elsewhere.

Absa Bank firmly believe that increased collaboration between the private and public sectors is key to creating sustainable programmes that increase literacy in South Africa and it is for this reason that it last year joined forces with THRASS UK. The THRASS Absa TalkTogether Project is a unique educational partnership that is aiming to revolutionise the teaching and learning of language in South Africa through partnerships between primary schools, universities and other organizations. The project is also aiming to provide a platform to celebrate South Africa's eleven national languages, through free interactive software and printable calendar charts.

To date, over 4,000 teachers and student teachers in South Africa have earned the THRASS Accredited Certificate, with approximately 500 having been sponsored by the THRASS Absa TalkTogether Project. And now Absa Bank has just announced that, through the TalkTogether Project, it is intending to introduce THRASS to 1,000 schools during 2008 using the THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Resources.

The THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Project, which was launched to a standing ovation at Holy Rosary School, Johannesburg on 31 January, 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 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.

Both THRASS UK and Absa Bank would welcome new partners seeking to adopt and include THRASS into their corporate social investment plans or participate in the THRASS Absa TalkTogether Project and the THRASS SING-A-LONG Family Reading Project.

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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CHRIS GRIFFITHS
THRASS
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