Thinking behind the development of PhonemeReader
The PhonemeReader has been developed to serve a simple but important purpose. It provides the opportunity to reinforce learning of the link between graphemes and phonemes as it is being taught in class.
Any word in the 10000-word dictionary can be displayed as a whole word followed by the word divided into its constituent graphemes. When the play button is clicked the graphemes will be highlighted in sequence as the associated phoneme is spoken. This provides a multisensory demonstration which can be further strengthened if the user chooses to echo each phoneme as it is said.
The suggestion is that learners who experience any difficulty should be given the opportunity to repeat a list of sample words for the week as often as necessary. The list of sample words can either be provided on screen, enabling the user to copy and paste each word, or provided on paper, requiring the user to type in each word.
Once trained to use the software, the learner should be able to work independently on this list, controlling the pace at which the phonemes are read out. They can also choose to listen to a female or male voice.
Each session should take no more than 10 to 15 minutes.
In a small number of words there is a phoneme used in pronunciation which has no corresponding grapheme. Where these occur, the whole word is highlighted in red when this phoneme is said. For example, in the word “bubbling,” there is a vowel sound pronounced between the “b” and “l.”
Included in the dictionary are 140 ‘nonsense’ words taken from past Phonics Screening Checks. These can provide practice for those individuals who find nonsense word reading challenging. A list of these words is provided separately.
The expectation is that through independent reinforcement of the learning taking place in class, many learners will be saved from falling behind and thus avoid suffering the loss of self-confidence in their ability to read that so often results.