Thrassing out spelling logic

14th January 2005 at 00:00
In the article on illogical spelling (TES, December 17), Masha Bell says that "spelling is unpredictable and illogical" and also that "it is inappropriate to look to other countries for guidance on the teaching of reading in the UK".

Last year we became the first school in Africa to implement the British phonics programme Thrass (teaching handwriting reading and spelling skills).

Might I suggest that Ms Bell comes to see how Thrass has been implemented in our school, because we have evidence, using British standardised tests, of a ratio gain for reading of 2.5 (up from 1.5) and a ratio gain for spelling of 1.5 (up from 1.0). These results are impressive, as English is not the first or only language of many of our pupils. It is surprising that Ms Bell does not seem to be aware of the programme, which uses 120 "keygraphemes" to teach the logic between the sounds and spelling choices of English.

Rob Altschul Headteacher Broadhurst primary school Private Bag BR114 Gaborone, Botswana

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