The TASSI ('Trace And Sound Sensory Imprint') approach.
I became aware of the enormous amount of 'baggage' that failing readers carry around with them. Failure seems to lead to an expectation of more failure. More failure equates with additional stress - the classic downward spiral.
Hence the 'Low Stress' advantage of the tracing component. It follows that this 'Low Stress' approach would be beneficial to all learners, as we know that stress and anxiety are detrimental to the process of forming new memories and the recall of already learned skills and concepts.
With tracing there is no stress and no margin for error. In other words the student is guaranteed success. As educators we know that the initial memory is the strongest. Hence it follows that TASSI offers an advantage to those learners just starting out, thereby avoiding the experience of early failure. The bonus factor is that handwriting tends to improve.
So what is being 'imprinted' when using Phonics Unlimited?
A bank of knowledge, related to spelling & writing, that directly supports reading.
While tracing and sounding, the student has no other 'processing clutter' happening at the same time. The brain is free to take on the information at hand. The next step in the process is 'dictation' of words, sentences and short passages - and lots of it. The brain now needs to 'access' the information that has just been imprinted, but is at the same time free of the creative process and more likely to gain accuracy at the skill based level. These are the interim steps provided towards competent sentence and story writing. Not all learners need this but most learners benefit from it.
WAIT! Consider ...
PHONICS UNLIMITED is an excellent way of introducing sound-symbol connections. However, there will be times when when a symbol confusion or a sound confusion, will disrupt learning. This is true for all Phonic Programmes. So, regardless of the phonic programme you use, these confusions need to be addressed as you encounter them.
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