This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.


The advantages of phonetics in reading age

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
phonetics, reading to baby, learning to read, books, reading
Most of you will never of heard of ita - The Initial Teaching Alphabet - as a method of teaching reading.

It was very popular in the early 1970's in England where I went to school. And it's now here in Sydney, OZ.

reading to baby

I was doing my usual trawl through the electronic Sunday Times and my childhood memories lit up like a lightbulb!

There was an article about The Butterfly School (Est. in 1996) and how teaching phonetics and using a phonetic alphabet can really benefit poor readers from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Children attending the two-hour weekly sessions performed significantly better in reading and English tests at the age of 11 than others from similar backgrounds. They are also more likely to reach the national benchmark for English and maths during the last year of primary education.

Their reading age improved by one month for each three hour and twenty minute weekly session. Amazing.

It has its' own alphabet based on sounds and its own books based on the alphabet.

I had no problem moving from ita to 'proper' English text and by 7yo was reading classics. It is said to encourage confidence in reading and reduces the issues caused by getting your head around spellings of words and sounds.

An example of how ita looks is below


If your child is struggling with the way words look it may be useful to know about this method.

Somethings come full circle don't they? Some children found phonetics difficult to adapt to 'proper' words. I moved on with no problems. It's something to think about...

Here's the Australian school for phonetics. I was talking to a mum about it and she's taking her little girl along next year. Thought you'd like to know about it. 

← Older Post Newer Post →