Spalding Education Says New Phonograms App Can Close the Book on Illiteracy


A 2013 study revealed 32 million US adults can’t read. Understanding the connection between speech and print is key to unlocking superior reading skills, says the nonprofit organization that’s known for its integrated Writing Road to Reading language arts curriculum. Researchers at Yale and other reading experts support phonics teaching as crucial to successful reading skills.

PHOENIX – April 17, 2014– An educational organization believes its app will help beginning readers learn the sounds of letters and letter combinations, known as phonograms, and prevent them from ever joining the 14 percent of US adults who can’t read. Not having a strong understanding of phonograms is considered a key obstacle for those who have trouble learning to read.

According to a study conducted last year by the US Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million US adults can't read. That number has remained unchanged for 10 years. Approximately 21 percent of US adults read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can't read.

The app, developed by Phoenix-based Spalding Education International (SEI), contains all 70 phonograms plus 17 advanced combinations. It's the first phonograms app that connects the speech sounds with writing them.

In The Spalding Method — the teaching philosophy its Writing Road to Reading curriculum is based on — teachers begin by demonstrating that spoken words consist of individual speech sounds. In schools using The Spalding Method, teaching the phonograms and manuscript writing are combined. According to SEI’s textbook, this "forms tight neural links between particular phonograms, particular letters, and particular motor (writing) movements.” Ten of the top 50 ranked elementary schools in Arizona use SEI’s curriculum. Schools in California, New York, Utah, Florida, as well as in Australia, also use it. "

Phonics is the gateway skill to reading and language proficiency for learners of all ages — especially for inner city, English Language Learners and dyslexic students. Writing the letters simultaneously with learning the sounds they represent reinforces the connection between sounds and print and aids retention,” says SEI Executive Director for Educational Services Janie Carnal. “It’s what makes the Spalding Method unique among language arts curricula.

In addition to phonogram introduction, the app also contains an oral and a written phonogram review. It allows teachers and parents to help students master the phonograms and become proficient readers. Specific phonograms can be selected and practiced for mastery. Students can also study on their own.

"Spalding’s Android phonograms app currently works on Android smartphones, 7” tablets, and 10” tablets, and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. The demo version allows the student to sample the first 10 phonograms. The full version is available for $3.99.  The Apple iOS version currently works on Apple iOS iPhone and iPad iOS version 7 or greater. The Spalding Apple iOS app be purchased and downloaded from your Apple iOS device through itunes ."

“Phonics is just the foundation of our integrated language arts approach,” said Carnal. “We build on a foundation of phonics to teach other necessary spelling, writing, reading, speaking and listening skills. This is one of the strengths of our program that correlates well with the Common Core English Language Arts Standards and extends students’ academic performance.”

The most current brain research supports the efficacy of phonics. Researchers at Yale University School of Medicine conducted a ground-breaking study that revealed when children are taught solid decoding skills (connecting sounds with letters) early on, and receive systematic instruction in spelling, vocabulary and comprehension, they are able to master reading with little difficulty.

“We know from more than 50 years of experience that Spalding-taught kindergartners read after a few months, and in first grade and above students read at or above grade level,” added Carnal. “One of the nice by-products of such reading success is teachers’ job satisfaction dramatically improves along with students’ test scores.”

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About Spalding Education International
Spalding Education International (SEI) is dedicated to teaching all students to spell, write and read. The organization was founded in 1986 by Romalda B. Spalding, author of The Writing Road to Reading" — a comprehensive K-6 total language arts curriculum that incorporates the teaching philosophy of The Spalding Method. Spalding's curriculum closely aligns with and often exceeds the Common Core State Standards. In The Spalding Method, instruction is explicit, systematic, interactive, diagnostic and multi-sensory. SEI courses are accredited by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC) for its literacy instructional programs for teachers and Spalding teacher trainers. Classroom and resource room teachers, adult educators, as well as home educators in the United States, Canada, Australia, Central America, Europe, Singapore and Taiwan are currently using The Spalding Method. SEI is a nonprofit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) corporation based in Phoenix, Ariz. For more information, call 1-623-434-1204 or visit

Contact: Jim Sexton / 623-434-1204 /