Chapter 11 - But what if you start late?

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But what if you start late?


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Finger-phonics program
  At nearby Don Buck Elementary School in West Auckland, teacher Mary Ashby-Green has achieved outstanding success with a British-based Finger Phonics program. Created by Sue Lloyd of Woods Lake School, Suffolk England, the program is known internationally as Jolly Phonics.
  This takes the extremely simple approach of teaching phonetic reading by linking each sound with specific finger movements. And it works. Kinesthetic children who have been way behind at reading early in elementary school are now zooming ahead, proving once again the strength of "muscle memory" - and catering to different learning styles.
  Before the program was introduced at Don Buck, 40 percent of its six-year-olds were not reading. With a few months all six-year-olds were reading, and the brightest were reading 12 to 18 months above their chronological age.
  Mary Ashby-Green says the program also has children beginning to write in the first couple of weeks at school. But she stresses that the school does not use Jolly Phonics in isolation. All teachers are particularly strong in identifying individual learning styles and catering to them. She says similar results from the system are being reported from around the world.

TARP - the tape-assisted reading program
  In another part of New Zealand, schools have successfully linked together one of the simplest Japanese electronic innovations with the New Zealand School Journal 16 library - and used it to make spectacular progress in overcoming reading difficulties at primary school.
  The innovation is the Sony Walkman cassette tape player. And in the small New Zealand suburb of Flaxmere, educational psychologist Dr. John Medcalf has taken the Walkman and used it to solve major reading problems.
  The method is called TARP: tape-assisted reading program. Basically, each child is encouraged to read stories of his own choice - based on his own interests. But when he reads each book, at home or at school, he can hear the same story on a cassette tape, through a set of Walkman headphones.
  "The readers are actually selecting stories they want to read," says Medcalf, "about subjects they're interested in: reading them when they


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