Technology Spotlight - Code Breakers for Dyslexia

If you are not new to this blog you will know that I am a keen evangelist for products that help students with dyslexia be more successful at school.

In my recent discussions with visitors to this blog I had the pleasure of getting to know Georgina Smith, a dyslexia tutor in Staffordshire who has written  a series of books that help people with dyslexia overcome their challenges.  Here series of books is called 'Code Breakers'.

Code Breakers is suitable for students with dyslexia and those looking to boost literacy skills. 

Code Breakers Georgina Smith
Code Breakers -  A step by step synthetic phonics and multi-sensory programme.

Below is a snippet from Georgina's website,

Georgina Smith , Author of Code Breakers
Georgina Smith - Author of Code Breakers
Code Breakers has been developed over the past 10 years by Georgina Smith, who is an experienced tutor and assessor. Georgina has run an independent practice for over 10 years. As members of her family have struggled with dyslexia over the years, she is passionate about supporting children and adults with dyslexia, ensuring they maximise their potential and develop literacy skills to enable students to become independent readers and spellers. 

Code Breakers is a synthetic phonics, multi-sensory, structured, cumulative literacy programme. This works well for students with dyslexia and those who want to improve literacy skills. 

Which age group? The programme is aimed at students of all ages an abilities from 5 yrs to post 16. This programme keeps the interest of of younger students as the 'teacher' can include learning through play. For adults, its plain text format without the pictures that they sometimes find are more appropriate for younger students, removes the stigma attached to developing literacy skills. 

Who can deliver it? Code Breakers has been designed so that teachers, T.A.s or parents, carers or partners can deliver it. It is highly structured and provides all worksheets, answers and flashcards. A 'tutor' guide is also provided so that the 'tutor/teacher' is aware of how to best complete the worksheet or game, which principles it develops and how to make the most of the multi-sensory experience to ensure that information is stored and able to be retrieved to develop independent learners. 

Will my child engage with the programme? Students have used this programme for 1:1 tuition and repeatedly attended lessons and had fun! There are lots of games to engage younger students and it removes the feeling of doing homework at the dining table, to having fun. You can even include all the family in games, if you wish. Younger and older siblings can join in and this helps all the family, allows parents to manage time and removes the stigma of feeling ‘extra work’ needs to be completed. 

The programme can be adapted for older students, with less emphasis on play, although even our older students love a game of bingo! As there are no pictures, this removes the sense of ‘additional support’ which stops some older students engaging in some programmes. 

Is it successful? Each book is structured and cumulative which means that students are only ask to read and spell sounds they have discovered at previous levels. Therefore they have a positive experience with each book. The rules and sounds are provided with every book to enable a full understanding of the sound and how to select the correct spelling pattern. Each chunk of sound is also isolated to enable students to understand how to identify and say a chunk of sound. 

The link to our video gives a step-by-step guide to each sound, which is mapped to each book in the series. 

My student isn’t in mainstream school, is it suitable? Code Breakers has been used with students who have dyslexia, students without dyslexia, students who attend mainstream school, students who do not attend mainstream school and students with additional and complex SPLDs. 

Due to the multi-sensory approach this ensures that students have the best opportunity of retaining the information. 

A frequently asked question is - Will it stick? The principles behind a multi-sensory programme and ensuring it is delivered in a structured and cumulative system, allowing for plenty of opportunities for over learning, alongside including language work - ensures that students will store and retrieve information effectively and become independent readers and spellers, not reliant on whole word recognition. There are many synthetic phonics programmes available, however I firmly believe that it is about the programme deliverer understanding the principles of what they are delivering and maintaining the continuity and standard of delivery that makesCode Breakers a successful programme. 

Code Breakers is written in a dyslexia friendly font and on cream paper. However special orders can be made if you wish the programme to be printed on a specific colour paper. 

Code Breakers builds student confidence and keeps students engaged. Students who have followed Code Breakers don't simply learn whole word recognition of high frequency words, they develop knowledge of words, are able to analyse sounds and the patterns of letters which make sounds and able to apply logic and transfer this knowledge to other, less familiar words. 

Do I need additional resources? Unless you want to use your own games to add to the play, resources are included. The pack includes flashcards and games. You will need a set of wooden letters and we have arranged a discount price from Crossbow Education, for all those who buy Code Breakers. The schools version will include a lesson plan for each booklet. 

Who can buy Code Breakers? This is available to individuals and schools. Why should schools buy Code Breakers? The highly structured programme provides a clear scheme of work for students, which can easily transfer to ILP/IEP targets. Furthermore clear targets and schemes of work can easily be identified for each student. Students will enjoy the structured workbooks and see a clear target and map of achievement. The programme can be delivered by teachers or TAs in a 1:1 setting or small group environment. The 'tutor/teacher' work book provides all the information on how to successfully deliver Code Breakers programme and therefore requires very little staff training. All the preparation has been completed. Each work book will offer regular worksheets, which enables staff to gain confidence in how to deliver the programme and students are encouraged by their success, due to the familiarity of the work. In addition, the Code Breakers for schools version comes with lesson plans for every workbook. 

If your school or training provision is looking for a synthetic phonics programme, which is multi-sensory, cumulative and structured,Code Breakers programme is for you! 

For more information about Code Breakers please click here .