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Why Phonics?

Frances Woodward is the founder of Forward with Phonics. Frances has specialised in the teaching of reading, using synthetic phonics since 1999 and has had successful outcomes with all ages of learner, from five to seventy-five!  

The British Government (United Kingdom) has acknowledged the findings of the research presented in the Rose Report (March 2006) and synthetic phonics is deemed the way forward in the teaching of reading. Prof Jim Rose concluded that synthetic phonics, delivered within a systematic programme, is the most effective way to teach children to read. Frances has personal experience that leads her to believe that it is the most effective way of teaching any beginner reader, regardless of age.

In 2007 she was part of a team involved in a research project entitled “Improving the quality of teaching and learning in adult literacy”. It was funded by the National Research and Development Centre (NRDC) and based at Sheffield University under the leadership of Dr.Maxine Burton. One of the areas being researched was the use of phonics with adults and the results were very encouraging. The learners made significant progress in reading and spelling. The findings can be reviewed in ‘Improving Reading – Phonics and Fluency’, an NRDC publication.

For the past twelve years Frances has worked with adults who are illiterate or who have very poor reading skills. She uses the Sounds-Write programme, which she finds is easily adapted to any age group. “Why hasn’t anybody told me this before” and “I wish I had met you years ago” are common quotes from her appreciative learners. It is not her they are indebted to but their introduction to synthetic phonics, which, at last, helps them understand the complexities of our written language.

Frances is an Independent Trainer for Sounds-Write and run courses for teachers in schools and tutors in Further Education Colleges. She has run courses for Education Support Workers in the Looked After Children sector and this led to running a special course for foster parents who wanted to know more about phonics in order to help the children in their care. In 2011, I ran a course at a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) school near Bangalore, India. It was a privilege to be involved in the training 

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