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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.
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.
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
Contents Page Preface