Below is a sample of the Grapheme & Picture section of the Cracking the ABC Code Multisensory Reading Level 2 Program

Grapheme 2


This section is the key to the success of the programme.

  • One grapheme (a letter or combination of letters) is introduced each week.
  • Each grapheme is linked to a key word and an accompanying picture to assist in retention and recall.
  • At this level graphemes are introduced one at a time as many students, especially those experiencing difficulty with learning to read, find that when the multiple ways that a phoneme (sound) can be represented are introduced at the same time it causes cognitive overload and then nothing is learned particularly effectively.

Note: Teach and encourage the student to use the following strategy when trying to work out the spelling of unfamiliar words.

  • Say the sounds in the word (e.g. sheet = sh-ee-t).
  • Ask: What makes the /sh/ sound? Answer: /s/ and /h/ as in ship. Write it down.
  • Ask: What makes the /ee/ sound? Answer: /e/ and /e/ as in tree. Write it down.
  • What is the last sound? Answer: /t/. Write it down.
  • If student answers, “/e/ and /a/ make /ee/ as in leaf,” say, “Yes, that’s correct. What else makes the /ee/sound?

1. At the beginning of each session:

  • Ask student to trace over each grapheme that has already been learned while saying the sounds of the letters, the phoneme and the accompanying key word (e.g., /s/ and /h/ make /sh/ for ship, /c/ and /h/ make /ch/ for chick, /t/ and /h/ make /th/ for three).
  • It is very important that students say the letter sounds /t/ and /h/ and NOT the letter names ‘t’ and ‘h’ as this reinforces prior learning and links new learning to previous knowledge which enhances retention of the information (see Sjöström,  Rancz, Roth & Hausser, 2008 for a discussion of the research in this area).

2. Each day:

  • The student practises the grapheme currently being learned using the following clapping pattern and an appropriate action (e.g., /ch/ for chick – make a beak using one hand, /th/ for three – hold up 3 fingers, /ie/ for kite – make the shape of a kite by joining the thumb and pointer finger of each hand, etc).
  • The inclusion of the clapping pattern is a key component of the learning process as the research indicates that movement enhances learning (see for example, Cook, Yip, & Goldin-Meadow, 2010).

/t/ and /h/ make /th/ for three
[slap] [clap] [slap] [clap] [slap] [clap] [put up 3 fingers]

/th/ for three
[slap] [clap] [put up 3 fingers]

/th/ for three
[slap] [clap] [put up 3 fingers]

/t/ and /h/ make /th/ for three
[slap] [clap] [slap] [clap] [slap] [clap] [put up 3 fingers]

/th/ /th/ /th/
[slap] [clap] [slap]

3. When introducing the sound:

  • Discuss other information provided on the page.
  • This provides students with orthographic knowledge which assists in them becoming proficient readers and spellers (see Holmes &  Quinn, 2009).

Cook, S., Yip, T., & Goldin-Meadow, S., (2010). Gesturing makes memories that last, Journal of Memory and Language, 63 (4), 465-475.

Sjöström, P., Rancz, E., Roth, & Hausser, M. (2008). Dendritic excitability and synaptic plasticity. Physiological Reviews, 88, 769-840.

Click on the book images to purchase.

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