THRASS UK Set to Change Lives With New English Phonics Software

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The THRASS English phonics programme has for some time been recognised as having the potential to more than double the normal rate of progress for reading and spelling in English. And now THRASS UK is set to change lives with its new SOUND IT OUT software that will give parents a better understanding of English phonics and the confidence they need to help their children at home.

Excellent – really enjoyed the whole day, especially the new software. Can’t wait to use it!

The THRASS English phonics programme has for some time been recognised as having the potential to more than double the normal rate of progress for reading and spelling in English. And now THRASS UK is set to change lives with its new SOUND IT OUT software that will give parents a better understanding of English phonics and the confidence they need to help their children at home.

International research consistently shows that, when it comes to developing a love of reading, children who are helped at home get a head start by learning from an early age that reading is fun and important. The evidence is so compelling that governments often require schools to run information evenings for parents of young children, focusing on how to share familiar books on a daily basis. Parents are advised to help children from as young as five 'sound out' words they cannot read using letter sounds rather than the names of letters; in other words, to use simple phonics.

However, although simple phonics may be fine for words like 'cat', 'dog' and 'ant', problems arise when the children try to sound out basic words like 'he', 'she', 'my', 'see', 'was' and 'said', not to mention many thousands of other English words, in which the letters do not represent the one sound that has been taught and which often include letters in groups of two, three and four that represent only one sound.

And there is a further problem in that many parents are not confident with the sounds and spellings in these words because they do not have a good understanding of the 44 sounds of English and their key spelling choices. Busy teachers do not have time to explain the basics of English Phonics to parents and, even if they did, many parents are not familiar with the words commonly used when teaching phonics ie phoneme, grapheme, keygrapheme, graph, digraph, trigraph and quadgraph.

Alan Davies, the British educational psychologist credited with creating the English Phonics Table, has for some time been aware of this widespread problem and has now used his extensive national and international experience of working with teachers, parents and children over several decades to produce the groundbreaking SOUND IT OUT software. This is set to change lives by tackling the problem of educating parents in the basics of phonics (beyond each letter having just one sound and also a name) so that they will be able to do much more to help their children. And, more importantly, the SOUND IT OUT software will make it possible to achieve this at very little cost.

SOUND IT OUT is focused entirely on the English Phonics Table and uses 120 keywords, each of which has a keygrapheme (key spelling choice) to give parents a better understanding of the 44 sounds and 120 key spelling choices of English. This gives them the building blocks to read and spell thousands of other words and gives them more confidence to help at home with words their children have difficulty reading.

The software has several components: an interactive Picturechart, five levels of structured teaching and an interactive Word Bank. And there will also be five SOUND IT OUT games with their accompanying videos. It has been programmed by THRASS UK Media Director, Mike Meade, who also programmed the highly successful THRASS Phoneme Machine software that uses the International Phonetic Alphabet and moving human lips to demonstrate the pronunciation of sounds and hundreds of frequently used English words and is used by thousands of schools in many countries around the world.

THRASS UK has already received some very positive feedback from the first SOUND IT OUT workshop held in Hampshire last month: "Excellent - really enjoyed the whole day, especially the new software. Can't wait to use it!" "This has made THRASS so much clearer to me as a parent of a young child and as a teacher." "New software will be very useful in the class and am looking forward to trying it out with the children." It is currently being trialled in schools in the UK and the trials will shortly be extended to schools in South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. There has also already been keen interest from Scotland and Ireland.

You can already read about the SOUND IT OUT software and how to use it, download a leaflet for parents and see a video of the first SOUND IT OUT workshop on the SOUND IT OUT temporary website. And more videos from South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe will be added over the next few weeks. In addition, a range of other resources that support SOUND IT OUT is already available.

THRASS SOUND IT OUT is primarily for parents but it is also ideal for many other groups including teachers, teaching assistants, speech therapists, educational psychologists and of course children! It will be launched on Wednesday, 26 May, when it will be available to download from the SOUND IT OUT website. It will be available on disc from July.

So have a look at the videos and user guide and see how SOUND IT OUT can give you a better understanding of English phonics. And remember, "If in doubt, SOUND IT OUT!"

To find out more about the SOUND IT OUT software and how to use it, visit the temporary website at http://www.thrass.co.uk/landing.htm

You can find a selection of videos and download the SOUND IT OUT User Guide in Powerpoint or PDF format from the Video and User Guide at http://www.thrass.co.uk/vaug.htm

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

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

Mike Meade, Media Director, +44 1829 741413 Mob: +44 7970 151 738

Chris Griffiths, International Development, +30 266 203 1207 or +44 151 324 3458

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CHRIS GRIFFITHS
THRASS (UK)
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