READING MASTER CURRICULUM ENHANCES PHONICS & VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT

In the GRADES 1-12 PILOT PROJECT, we recommend the use of computerized curricula, which students can use individually in classrooms, computer labs or at home. Reading Master, developed in New Zealand, merges Montessori phonics, Doman whole word recognition, and accelerated multi-sensory learning techniques. Reading Master was created primarily for in-home use, thus, it can be used effectively as a supplemental curriculum, for individualized remediation, and as student "homework."

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For families, the Reading Master curriculum comes as a package with a book version, videotaped version and computerized version to deliver the same basic curriculum through a variety of media and senses. Pilot Project schools can buy the curriculum piecemeal. Some schools have only purchased the computerized version to use in their computer lab. Some have added one or two sets of videos plus several sets of books to also use in the classroom. Other schools followed our recommendation and purchased many sets of videos, books and computer CD-ROMs to use from Day 1 as their primary "homework" assignment. The idea is to send something home with every child every day to induce a longer learning day and parental involvement. But with videos and CD-ROMs available, busy parents can still be "involved" without having to sit down and read with their child every night -- although that is also recommended.

Reading Master has not been fully "Americanized," so teachers need to teach the young students about "accents." Don't presume they know anything about accents yet. This is a very good opportunity to teach the students about different cultures and languages -- as well as accents. If you fail to do this, we have found the young students are frequently "turned off" by this curriculum.

It is also highly recommended that -- if at all possible -- you provide students access to the computerized version of the curriculum AS SOON AS POSSIBLE for at least 15 minutes a day. This is the version of the curriculum that most students prefer. Students at Boistfort Elementary, for example, were turned off by the videos UNTIL they began using the computerized version. Then they were much more attentive to the videotaped version, as well.

The Reading Master curriculum is being used effectively in numerous classrooms, but the individualized, interactive, multi-sensory CD-ROM is the most effective. But by adding this to the book and video versions, the three major learning styles – visual, auditory and kinesthetic – are fully addressed. The curriculum emphasizes the accelerated learning strategies developed by U.S. educator Glenn Doman to teach 70 minimal sound units (phonograms) and 450 most-used English words.

Reading Master has assisted more than 36,000 students in Australasia and as far away as Luxemburg, Sweden, South Africa, China and the United States. At first its approach and results were controversial. Now it is generally viewed as educational best practice in that part of the world and has been the subject of several studies, special mention on TVNZ’s Assignment program and a Ph.D thesis. The company claims it has never received even a single reported case of a child failing to learn how to read using its curriculum.

Because of the distance, we were unable to send independent evaluators, but we list below the comments of some of the school and preschool administrators who have used the curriculum.

Wrote Mary Ellen Maunz of Montessori International: "The Reading Master System is a unique blend of effective methods, produced in an outstanding format. The quality of information and lovely illustrations make these books a must. In our 25 years of developing programs and combining the best of the best, we discovered that Doman flashcards with Spalding phonics makes a great combination. Reading Master made the same discovery."

Dr. Cynthia Thrush, Ph.D Education (Cognitive Science), made a similar observation: "I've spent 30 years of my life with children in schools, and in all those years I have never seen a program that successfully combined phonics, whole brain learning plus accelerated learning techniques and music and color as the Reading Master does."

Co-developer Grant Ford recounts the success experienced by Principal David Foster and the Hunua Primary School in Auckland (and verified by us in a recent phone interview).

"David had a group of children ranging in ages from 7 to 9 years of age that were in the 4th percentile for reading in their respective age groups. … These children had been through at least six months of the State Reading Recovery program and had even had one-on-one tutoring for four months after that. Yet despite the resources thrown at the problem, they were still averaging the 4th percentile for reading for their age.

"These children were allowed access to the Reading Master books and 30 minutes per day unsupervised on the Reading Master CD-Rom. After just under 4 months, these children averaged the 86th percentile in reading for their age."

Because of the multi-sensory, individualized approach, Reading Master purports to have been used successfully with dyslexic, autistic, adult, and ESL students. David Foster, the Hunua School principal, wrote: "A child who had been causing major concern caught up two years worth of reading progress in under six months. Your work has produced a valuable resource that compliments and reinforces the vital elements of any successful school reading program."

Patrick J. Lynch, Executive Director of the Catholic Education Office NZ, adds: "Congratulations on the production of the Reading Master System, which is excellent and timely, especially when teachers are looking for better ways to teach youngsters the basics of literacy. I am happy to promote the material among our Integrated Schools and schools generally."

For more information on Reading Master, go to the company's own website at www.readingmaster.com.