How PAT was developed

 

PAT was developed in a small scale project with children who were experiencing persistent difficulties with learning to read.  In many cases the children had succeeded in learning all the individual letter sounds and symbols, but still failed to make progress.

 

The project set out to use principles from recent psychological research on the development of phonological awareness, to train the children to adopt different strategiesfor reading and spelling.  The exercises are designed to develop an awareness of onset and rimes.  Each set of exercises focus on 4 rimes and aim to develop the child's ability to generate single syllable words which end with these rimes.  (Words with the same rimes are also rhyming words).

 

The materials were first used by a mother working at home with her son who has specific learning difficulties.  This was followed by use of the materials in First, Middle and Secondary schools with teachers, non-teaching assistants and parents helping children to work through the programme.  Because the emphasis is placed on the process of reading and spelling, rather than the content, the PAT  programme is directly applicable to a wide age range.

 

There are no pictures, line drawings or cues of any kind because the child is learning to focus on sounds and to develop a problem solving approach to generating words.  Pictures would deflect from the task by providing external reminders for the child, whereas the objective is for the childto develop his/her own strategies for remembering.