The Learning Letter Sounds™ instructional program is designed to guide
students through a series of logical decisions, culminating in an understanding of how spoken language is
interpreted in print. Once children learn how to solve the sound-symbol mystery, a big step toward reading mastery
has been taken.
Learning Letter Sounds assures that students are given systematic, intensive phonics
instruction while the teacher attends to other important instructional tasks.
The program is made up of carefully selected learning objectives, delivered by academically sound instructional processes.
Learning Letter Sounds is intended to be integrated smoothly into a balanced reading curriculum, helping teachers provide
more individualized instruction. It is designed to help teachers accomplish five vital educational tasks essential to a
teacher's complete understanding of each child's individual development:
Diagnose each child's knowledge of letter sounds
Prescribe the lessons the student needs on an individual basis
Teach the lessons prescribed
Evaluate the student's progress
Maintain a record of the student's progress
These vital tasks are accomplished automatically by the program. As students progress through the Learning Letter Sounds lessons, the system constantly adjusts to student performance. This assures that the student is always encountering material
that is appropriate and stimulating. Students who show mastery on the integrated pretests move ahead rapidly while those who
need more help are automatically assigned additional work. Though the teacher does not participate in delivery of the
instruction, he or she has immediate access to a detailed record of student performance.
Although the material is organized in a logical scope and sequence, teachers can easily adjust the order of presentation of
lessons at their discretion.
Lessons provide maximum academic learning time. Students work individually at the computer at their own pace, averaging
between ten and twenty minutes at each session. During this time the student is given at least ninety decision-making
opportunities consisting of a pretest, instruction and post test relating to the content of each lesson.
The student never moves on without responding correctly to each frame. If the correct answer is not selected on the first
trial in each frame, the student is asked to try again until he or she succeeds. Frames are designed to present a series of
logical challenges, causing the student to use deductive reasoning, analogy, onset-rime examples and other effective
instructional strategies. Because the material is presented in logical, gradual increments, students are easily guided into
a highly successful experience each time they use Learning Letter Sounds.
SUPPORTED BY RESEARCH
Dr. Donald Durrell and his colleague, Dr. Helen Murphy, professors at Boston University, pioneered the instructional
techniques embodied in Learning Letter Sounds on the basis of studies over four decades. Current research supports their
findings. Recently, The National Center to Improve the Tools of Educators analyzed dozens of current studies and sythesized
the findings into a single document, Understanding the Primary Role of Word Recognition in the Reading Process: Synthesis of
Research on Beginning Reading (Technical Report No.15, Chard, Simmons and Kameenui, University of Oregon).
The National Reading Panel, in its comprehensive report to Congress in 1999, supports the proirities and instructional
processes used is the Learning Letter Sounds program.
CLEARLY DEFINED OBJECTIVES
Precise learning objectives were written for every one of the 6370 instructional frames in the program assuring that
everything the student experiences is done for a specific reason.
Diagnosis, prescription and placement are accomplished by a criterion referenced test that is embedded in the system. At the
beginning of each sequence the student is presented with a six-item test linked to the content of the following lesson. If
the student responds correctly to all items he or she will not be assigned that lesson but will be advanced to the next
sequence and so on until an error is made.
Individualized learning is the heart of the Learning Letter Sounds program. Each student works alone at his or her own pace
at tasks that have been specially selected to suit individual needs.
Each Learning Letter Sounds lesson is made up of small, logical increments allowing each individual to progress through a
sequence of logical decisions at his or her own rate assuring a high degree of mastery.
Each lesson requires the student to make over 90 decisions, solving problems by using a variety of reasoning skills.
Although repetition is a key element, these lessons are not simple monotonous drills.
The student must take a very active role when involved in Learning Letter Sounds lessons. The program only moves forward
after each correct response. If an error is made, he or she is asked to try again until the correct response is achieved.
If the student does not hear the audio message or does not understand it when first presented, he or she simply selects the
repeat button and listens to as many repetitions as needed without recording an incorrect response. This patient repetition
prevents frustration and reinforces the student's self-assurance.
In addition to the built-in review programmed into each lesson, Learning Letter Sounds features a cumulative, branching
review after every third lesson. This review feature is essential for all students and is critical for those students with
retention difficulties. The developmental sequencing of the lessons also ensures that previously learned skills are
EVALUATION AND REPORTING
Because each lesson automatically tests students before and after each lesson, teachers can easily access each child's
performance by simply reviewing their individual performance profiles. This information can easily be printed for teachers,
administrators and parents for evaluation and planning.
The effectiveness of the Learning Letter Sounds program can be easily measured because the management system automatically
records each child's status before and after instruction. Although this program is primarily an instructional system, it
also serves as an accurate measurement of each child's status with regard to the targeted skills.
EASY TO USE
You don’t have to be a computer whiz to use Learning Letter Sounds. The computer expertise is built into the program.
Teachers and students can use it with only a few minutes of orientation.