My Training

It was obvious to me that the authors of Reading Reflex were onto something, so I spent the money and found myself in Florida for a week in early 1999 getting trained in Phono-Graphix, which is what the authors of Reading Reflex call their method.

I also came across another book which influenced my eventual teaching methods. That book was the The Writing Road to Reading by Romalda Spalding. Ms. Spalding wrote the original edition in 1957 and it has stood the test of time. Moreover, the basic approaches of both Reading Reflex and The Writing Road to Reading are quite similar though they might not appear so on the surface. Reading Reflex is an excellent remedial curriculum because it can be easily tailored to the needs of any particular child, whereas the presentation Ms. Spalding urged is more rigorous and leaves less to chance. Ms. Spalding’s curriculum is quite suitable as a complete reading and writing curriculum.

During this phase, I read a number of other books on teaching reading, including many phonics curricula. However, none of them had much influence on the program I eventually designed. The OnTrack Reading Phonics Program is based almost entirely on blending the ideas found in Reading Reflex and The Writing Road to Reading and I would recommend both of these books to any parent or teacher who wants to learn more about how to teach phonics (and reading) effectively.

I should add that The Writing Road to Reading has a newer Fifth Revised Edition since I first read it. This later edition was written to satisfy the public schools’ need for a complete description of the curriculum down to the last detail. I find the 1990 Edition far easier to digest, with Ms. Spalding’s ideas and persuasive personality coming through on almost every page. The Fifth Edition, written after her death, has the feel of a committee about it along with everything that entails, but also contains much more information that would be helpful to a teacher who needs to document the curriculum being used.

The OnTrack Reading Phonics Program lays out the result of my combination of the curricula in both Reading Reflex and The Writing Road to Reading in considerable detail and like both of those curricula, mine has been designed to be used by both parents and teachers.

However, while any of these three methods is likely to be of tremendous help in getting phonics information into your child’s head, none will overcome dyslexia, as I now see it. I soon ran into that unexpected turn in the road that I mentioned earlier.