Potter, C. and Rebolo, C., University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
In this paper we report on the use of a series of phonic inventories as a diagnostic tool in planning reading and spelling programmes. The phonic inventories form part of a remediation programme, called "The Targeted Revisualisation Programme", which has been piloted with a number of severely learning disabled children of primary school and junior high school age in Johannesburg, South Africa.The Phonic Inventories consist of three levels: a)Words based on single vowels; b)Words based on combinations of vowels and vowel digraphs; c)Polysyllabic words, compound words and words built from root words through use of morphological features such as prefixes and suffixes. The rules the child has learned and has not yet learned are established through error analysis of the phonic inventory protocols. Based on the pattern of errors and information available from other sources such as tests of reading, spelling and dictation, a programme is then developed. This targets the specific errors made by the child, and follows the theories of Jean Piaget in introducing reading, writing and spelling skills in terms of a developmental hierarchy involving perception, mental imagery and language. The aim of the initial assessment is to establish the level of developmental level of the child, with respect to the rule systems needed to decode and encode text, and to provide an indication of the lexicon of previously encountered words which are in the child's accessible memory. These data are used as a basis for establishing a checklist of target skills, through analysis of the child's spelling errors both prior to and during the process of remediation. The aim is to determine which spelling rules the child has or has not acquired, to hold these target rules in mind, and to mediate these rules. The remedial programme thus targets the phonic and alphabetical rules the child has not yet established, based on analysis of the rules the child uses to create words, and how these and new rules are used to decode and encode written text.