Phonics Ireland - An Online Synthetic Phonics Course

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Who are Phonics Ireland?


Patrick McEvoy



Patrick McEvoy - Phonics Ireland Hello.

My name is Patrick McEvoy.

I was born and went to school in Tipperary, Ireland. Some of my earliest memories of school are of children with learning and language difficulties being punished for their inadequacies. When children 'fail', it is the responsibility of the adults round about them to help them, and not to punish and 'label' them. It was true then and it is still true.

After University in Dublin, I went to teach in London. I soon became aware to my dismay that there was no agreed approach to literacy in the school system, no real sense of direction. Styles, approaches, and methods differed from classroom to classroom, from teacher to teacher, from school to school, from year to year and from decade to decade (century to century?).

There has been little real forward momentum in the literacy debate in the decades in which I have been teaching, and yet throughout those decades, since the 1960's, a stubborn 20% or more of our young people have left school with poor literacy, to face diminished lives, (unemployability, prison, etc.). The complacency of all concerned, both in education and in politics, is something that deeply bothers me.

As the years have passed, I have witnessed fads and fashions come and go as a plethora of half-baked phonics schemes gave way to crazes for 'Whole Language' and word memorisation vogues.

In the mid-90's I became involved with my colleague Harry Blackstock in what has become known as synthetic phonics, a phonics method that makes language teachable. We have worked directly with hundreds of children of varying ages, and also with adults. We have trained hundreds of teachers. My son, Michael, who has Down's Syndrome has benefitted from the clear logic of this approach.

We developed the Phonics Ireland Programme to offer an approach to literacy which was accessible to all, which is user-friendly, jargon-free and at a reasonable cost. We believe it is time that the longboat of literacy had a steady hand on the tiller and was better fitted to negotiate the often 'deep and false waters' of the English language.

Welcome aboard.

Harry Blackstock



Harry Blackstock - Phonics IrelandMy name is Harry Blackstock. Welcome to the Phonics Ireland Online Synthetic Phonics Course.

Originally from County Armagh in Northern Ireland, I went to study English in Scotland, and then moved into secondary teaching as a specialist in that subject. For many of the students I work with reading is as essential and natural as breathing, but for a substantial minority this, sadly, is not the case.

I became sharply aware of the profound struggle many have with reading and writing when my then 8 year old daughter was diagnosed as having 'strong dyslexic tendencies'. Her self-confidence was being eroded. Something had to be done.

In trying to help her, an impressive amount of good will and effort was expended by professionals involved in education. However, it soon became apparent that despite the extensive research and innumerable publications on the subject, there was little consensus among experts as to how such a distressing situation should be remediated.

Tablets, potions, extra tuition, programmes of physical exercises were all tried but the hoped-for breakthrough did not happen. It was only when I used what has since come to be called synthetic phonics, that she declared to a friend "I'm able to read now". The blockage had been removed. She now devours books.

Now after some ten years of working with private clients and in the training of teachers, Patrick McEvoy and I can make available to all those determined to act against this scourge of poor literacy, the approach that we have found to be effective, straightforward and enjoyable.

With this Phonics Ireland online course we will reveal to you the underlying principles of synthetic phonics and show you how to apply them, so putting you in a position to make a real and permanent difference to people's lives. Literacy is too crucial for self-esteem and to career opportunities for us to be passive. I would urge you to seize control, forge ahead and enjoy the ride.