How do some well known schemes match up?
Letterland uses visually stimulating pictograms to characterise letters of the alphabet, such as "c" represented by Clever Cat. Characters are shaped in the form of the letter, providing a strong element of visual learning.
Systematically working through a fast-track characterisation of each letter, it leads to steps for the production of graphemes (two-letter sounds), such as when Hairy Hat shushes Sammy Snake, with the two letters meeting to go "sh". A vast array of bright and colourful materials support the programme.
Jolly Phonics uses simple actions to denote the sounds of English, physically acting out the hearing of sounds. It sets out a well-paced programme of a sound a day, adopting a simple, multi-sensory, lesson format, with oral, physical and visual dimensions.
Each sound is represented by a simple hand action with which it has some connection - so "s" is a snake action and "sh" is a finger to the lips. A set of word cards link to the phonic progression. The basic Phonics Handbook, with its photocopiable resources, presents a good, standalone resource.
Ruth Miskin's ReadWrite Inc also systematically delivers sounds, presenting them through flashcards of phrases before using them in reading activities.
A lot of activities use "Fred talk", which introduces a puppet named Fred who can only say words one sound at a time. Straightforward lessons provide talk, reading and writing, with plans that maintain pace and offers a manageable format. With its zany illustrations and sound phrases such as "poo at the zoo", the scheme has touches of humour children will remember.
Finally, "Sue Palmer's Synthetic Phonix" Bags of Sounds are cubes that fix together to make up words, colour-coded to pick out vowels, consonants and digraphs. A resource book gives a brief and easy guide. The cubes add physical stimulation and are great for promoting playing with sounds.www.philipandtacey.co.ukspsyntheticphonix.htm