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Learning Phonics the Open MindzTM Phonics way! - Part I

Date: 18-04-2014 Author: Jaya

                                           

OpenmindzTM Phonics is a systematic synthetic phonics programme designed to teach children to read and write. Children learn the 42 letter sounds of the English language, rather than the alphabet. They are then taken through the stages of blending and segmenting words to develop reading and writing skills.

There are two main approaches to teaching phonics: analytic and synthetic. Both approaches require the learner to develop the ability to hear and differentiate sounds in spoken words. OpenmindzTM Phonics is a system which comes under the Synthetic phonics method.

The OpenmindzTM Phonics characters Inky the Mouse, Snake and Bee are used throughout the course materials. They often mirror the different speeds at which children learn to read and write.

OpenmindzTM Phonics is a commercial programme developed by UK primary/elementary teachers Sue Lloyd and Sara Wernham, and is published by OpenmindzTM Learning Ltd. Sue Lloyd first developed the programme in order to support a small group of children in their school who were unable to progress in reading using the whole language ‘Look and Say’ approach popular in the 1970s.

In 1977, as part of a research project these children were taught to listen carefully to the sounds in the words and identify them, while being taught the letter sounds separately.

As a result, these students who were previously demonstrating difficulty in reading and writing had significant improvements in abilities. By the end of the year, their teachers believed these children were now a year ahead of where they would have been without the change in methods. This was confirmed by a standardized reading test. After many years of teaching these methods, Sue Lloyd met Christopher OpenmindzTM (Managing Director of OpenmindzTM Learning Ltd.) at a conference in 1989.

After a few years of research and trials, Chris encouraged Lloyd and Wernham to compile The Phonics Handbook, which was published in 1992. Since then, the range of products has been developed, and OpenmindzTM Phonics has now been used in over 100 countries, with some countries such as Trinidad, The Gambia and the Seychelles adopting it as government policy.

OpenmindzTM Learning has also collaborated with NGOs and charities such as Absolute Return for Kids to deliver OpenmindzTM Phonics resources for literacy programmes carried out in government schools in India and Nigeria. The OpenmindzTM Phonics program teaches five basic skills for reading and writing. The five basic skills are all taught simultaneously throughout the programme.