Detectives in our midst

JS boys investigate the English language

The THRASS Institute is an Australian-based company that has developed a phonetics teaching tool that has made a paradigm shift in the teaching of phonetics. (THRASS is an acronym for ‘Teaching Handwriting, Reading And Spelling Skills’). There is not a single word in English that cannot be adequately explained using THRASS!

It makes reading and spelling acquisition much simpler, faster and more sustainable than conventional ‘phonic’ approaches. Plus, it is fun!

The THRASS chart is a valuable tool that we use to assist the boys to identify the 44 speech sounds called ‘phonemes’ that can be represented in writing using the 26 letters of the alphabet, either individually or combined with other letters.

You may hear your son talking about ‘graphs’, ‘digraphs’ and ‘trigraphs’. These are words used to describe one letter, or combinations of letters that represent a sound – for example, in ‘knight’ the ‘kn’ is a digraph, the ‘igh’ is a trigraph and the ‘t’ is a graph.

We value the explicit teaching of these building blocks of the English language, and believe that knowing the 44 sounds of English, and the various spelling choices that can represent these sounds, enables the learner to understand the spelling system.

In order for the THRASS chart to be an effective tool in the classroom, the boys need to know their way around the chart. This term we are setting all boys the challenge of becoming a THRASS chart detective as they investigate the chart.

If you are keen to learn more about THRASS, we hope to run some parent information sessions early in 2018.

Raelene Plozza
Literacy Coach