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Press Release, Really Great Reading

We have some exciting news to share.  Really Great Reading has added another dedicated practitioner, professional developer, consultant and author to our collaborative team.  Kathryn Grace is best known as the originator of Phoneme-Grapheme Mapping (PGM) which she created in 1983 while teaching in her Vermont classroom.  Her process has been instrumental in helping students of all ages better understand the alphabetic principle – the knowledge that there are systematic and predictable relationships between written letters (graphemes) and spoken sounds (phonemes). PGM starts with speech sound awareness and highlights phoneme-grapheme relationships by depicting the internal details of both spoken and written words through a series of intricate mappings.  Its multi-sensory process is research based, highly effective and extremely engaging for students (and teachers) of all ages.

Ms. Grace introduced the process of Phoneme-Grapheme Mapping to numerous school districts, IDA conference attendees and literacy organizations across the country beginning in 1985.   Dr. Louisa Moats (Kathryn’s former graduate school professor) has highlighted PGM in her acclaimed LETRS program since 1995 where it helps teach the logic of English orthography to teachers nationwide.  It continues to be highlighted in LETRS’ highly successful online program available to teachers across the country.

In the foreword to Kathryn’s book “Phonics and Spelling through Phoneme-Grapheme Mapping”(2006), Dr. Moats wrote, “This program embodies the true meaning of the “alphabetic principle” which is much discussed and seldom taught in such an engaging, logical, organized and complete fashion.  With this program, in the regular classroom or the intervention group, students will learn the fundamentals of word structure for both reading and spelling.  It’s powerful; it’s fun.  Thank you, Kathryn, for giving us this work.”

While working with struggling students as a young graduate student, Kathryn realized that phoneme-grapheme knowledge was essential for mature literacy acquisition and that it was important to include both spelling and reading in this process.  This was later confirmed by Dr. Linnea Ehri’s research on orthographic mapping in 1995 and the interconnectedness of reading and spelling in 1997.

Although orthographic mapping (OM) is not a teaching method, beginning readers frequently need help establishing this brain activity by developing two major components:  phoneme segmentation and letter-sound knowledge. The process of Phoneme-Grapheme Mapping facilitates orthographic brain mapping because it helps students form connections between the oral phonemes (or sounds) in spoken words and the corresponding grapheme representations (letter/s) that they read and write in print.

Scott DeSimone, CEO of Really Great Reading commented “Kathryn’s approach to literacy aligns well with Really Great Reading’s goal of helping educators teach the foundational skills that lead to strong decoding and fluent reading as well as helping to remediate decoding issues in upper elementary, middle and high school students.  We look forward to adding Kathryn’s text, ’Phonics and Spelling Through Phoneme-Grapheme Mapping’ to our professional offerings in both print and digital formats as well as collaborating on future literacy materials to help teachers “Bring the Science of Reading to Life” in their classrooms.”