For many years Catherine Carpenter has been looking into the relevance of existing phonics materials for foreign language students. Her interest in the teaching of reading and how children learn to read best started right back in the eighties when she was doing her Bachelor of Education in the UK.
It had always been Catherine Carpenter’s belief that although existing phonics materials could work well with children who were learning English as a First language the material always fell short for children who were learning English as an Extra Language. (EAL).Not being satisfied by any of the existing approaches available for EAL students she set about creating her own method. Pronics has 6 distinguishing characteristics.
1. Pronics is a method with pronunciation at its core. If children do not know how to make the sounds in English correctly, how can they be expected to read them correctly?
2. A limited vocabulary. The Pronics method limits the vocabulary items to those that they are likely to be learning as an EAL learner. How can a child who is learning English as a second or Foreign language possibly be expected to know the same number of words as a native speaker child? How can they possibly be expected to read and pronounce words if they don’t even know what they mean or have never heard them before? Pronics uses the first 300 words a child will learn when learning English.
3. Pronics supports any English course, or reading scheme. It will support and not be in conflict with other materials.
4. Pronics is a method which is quick, light, and easy for teachers, parents and learners to learn and use. Children learn the sounds and the symbols quickly and naturally.
5. An approach which is adaptable to different contexts. Pronics has opt in and out sections. How can you possibly think of following exactly the same method for a Chinese learner, a native speaker and a child learning English for the first time at the age of 6 or 9?
Pronics is ideal for a mixed ability class. It can be used to support children who are already quite fluent readers but also help children who are new to English and are learning to read in English for the first time.
6. An approach which is fun. We all know that children learn best when they are having fun. Teachers and parents also teach best when they are having fun!
Work continues with Pronics as Catherine Carpenter and Natascia Tomassi continue producing materials which can be taken straight into the classroom. Catherine and Natascia are now working on the next stage of Pronics for children who have acquired a larger vocabulary and ready for a greater challenge.
Catherine Carpenter has a B.ed Hons. RSA Diploma, (DTEFLA) and an MA in TESOL. She has worked as a teacher in the UK, Greece, Cyprus and Italy. She was responsible for the Young Learners at British Council Rome for 20 years. She left in 2019 and has been working on Pronics ever since.
Natascia Tomassi has the CELTA (Cambridge Certificate of Teaching English to Adults.). She has always been passionate about languages and linguistics. She holds a degree in Linguistics, Russian and French, speaks Spanish and is a bilingual Italian English speaker. She has a particular interest in contrastive analysis and pronunciation.
She has an MA in business and marketing.
Emily Tomassi has the CELTA (Cambridge Certificate of Teaching English to Adults.) and a degree in product design from Brunel University, London. She is a bilingual Italian English speaker. She is passionate about sustainability and eco farming and combines this interest with teaching English to children and working with Pronics.