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Marco the Malta Bus

Reading Scheme

A reading scheme based on the recognition of commonly used words which will be found most frequently in most books. Word recognition will “kick start” the skill of reading. Once the basic words are placed into the memory, an understanding of phonics/phonemes/syllables/morphemes will follow on more easily when the child is mature enough to understand these terms in principle. This is because the child can already recognise the words and their use in spoken language, and so these words can then be applied to the rules the child will be taught later. It is so much easer to build on to something already known and familiar.

This systematic scheme has four principles:

  1. Spoken language development through action songs on the audio CD and full colour detailed illustrations
  2. Repetition of word presentation through memory/flash cards of target words and simple sentences containing the learned target words only
  3. Detection of learned target words amongst unfamiliar words through paired reading of a story with an adult
  4. Motivation to read through a systematic method of gradual introduction of the highest frequency of printed words in reading material alongside endearing cartoon characters.

How the principles link to the scheme

  1. Word Recognition by repetition of scientifically researched high frequency words using memory/flash cards, prior to the child reading the words in simple sentences containing only previously learned words. The order of words to be learned is indicated at the bottom of each page, which introduces the next word to be learned prior to reading the page.
  2. Word detection of target words amongst a page of unfamiliar/unknown words using paired reading with an adult. Words already introduced at that point in the story, which have been learned through the simple sentence pages to that point in the book, will be in bold print. The adult pauses over these words so they can be recognised by the child to read out loud. Words newly introduced into the story for this purpose are listed at the bottom of the page as a reminder to adults. The stories are to be read together in small sections and are a bonus for the child having learned the words through principle 2.
  3. Reading motivation through colourful and amusing illustrations of story events and an audio CD with some action songs, to develop speaking and listening skills. There are many pictorial details to be discussed between the adult and the child.

The audio CD (product BKCD1 language name) also contains all simple sentences for practice pronunciation purposes to help adults for whom the book language is not their first language. The stories are also read in short sections so that a child can still enjoy paired reading and word detection by listening to a fluent reader of the recorded language. It is recommended that the printed illustrated book or Epub versions are purchased for the child, but a second “text only” version along with the relevant CD can be purchased for translation and language guidance use in alternative languages.

For adults who find learning to read a second language rather challenging, this scheme will also be useful as the language is basic because this is the way a child learns to discover the joys of printed information. This scheme is not a spoken language learning scheme but a reading scheme which will of course support a new learner in hearing the accepted pronunciations of a foreign language through the audio CD. For some adults, a printed version promotes language acquisition when used in addition to listening to the language in small repetitive sections.

For adults who wish to introduce their own language to their children (not living in the country from where their parents were educated), Marco the Malta bus can be used to show children a second language and progress quickly as they have a home language equivalent for comparison purposes. The audio CD reminds the listener of how the language is spoken by a native speaker from the country of origin.

Marco will also support children who have poor auditory processing skills or children who are just so muddled up about reading and spelling rules they have become detached from the “learning to read” process. Although the subject matter is aimed at smaller children the basic principles of starting with frequently used words will mean that by the time they know all 100 target words they will be able to recognise 50% of most written material. This is a quick kick-start method which will motivate “phonic dependent, CVC-bored children” who cannot see how sounding out separate phonics brings you “come” to rhyme with “sum” but not “home”.

For more practice play Marco’s matching word game free on Marco’s website.

For phonics practice see the posting activity game.