The theoretical underpinnings of Phono-Graphix are remarkably straightforward and sensible, no doubt encouraging its rapid spread and popularity among teachers. It is based simply on the nature of the English code, the three skills needed to access that code, and teaching these in keeping with the way children learn. The following page describes this in greater detail.
The Nature of the Code and the Child as a Learner of the Code
Letters are pictures of sounds. So these are pictures of sounds b oa t
Can children understand this?--We believe that children can understand this perfectly well. Children have a remarkable ability to assess visual figures. At two days a baby can distinguish his mother's face from any other human face. Children assess visual figures in the world around them every day.
Sound pictures can be one or more letters. The pictures can be made of one b / t or more oa letters. So boat has three sounds, and three sound pictures b oa t
Can children understand this?--We believe children can manage this. They reuse figures in the world around them every day. No rule is needed to recognize a triangle and a square, or that a triangle on a square is a house, so why would they need a rule to recognize oa as
There is variation in the code; most of the sounds can be shown with more than one picture.
b oa t
s l ow
m o s t
n o t e
Can children understand this?--We believe that children can easily learn that these oa ow o are all a picture of the same sound. If shown a picture of a daisy, a lilac and a rose, children learn easily enough that they are a picture of the same word... 'flower'.
There is overlap in the code; some of the pictures are used for more than one sound.
ow = sh ow
ow = f r ow n
Can children understand this?--We believe children can manage this as they easily manage that a circle can be a picture of a ball, a circle, a moon, a dot, and more!
The Skills Needed to Use Such a Code
Reading and spelling is also dependent upon expertise at the skills needed to use such a code.
Segmenting--to use a sound picture code one must be able to access independent sounds within words.
Blending--to use a sound picture code children must be able to push sounds together into words.
Phoneme Manipulation--to use a code that contains overlap children must be able to slide sounds in and out of words that contain overlap spellings such as the <ow> in 'brown'.
Children Learn Best In Context and Through Active Discovery
Developmental psychologist Jean Piaget said...
"The child only deeply understands that which he has created."
Through directed discovery the Phono-Graphix lessons help the child to create a schema for the code that is based on its true nature and the way children learn.
Click here to read the research on Phono-Graphix
FOR A FULL explanation of how Phono-Graphix is used with school children, please click here to view a paper first presented to the Office of Standards in Education, December, 1998.
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