Zoo-phonics® and children with special needs

Zoo-phonics and children with special needs

Zoo-phonics® works exceptionally well with special needs students.

  • Besides learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD and dyslexia, children who, having been diagnosed with autism (including Asperger’s Syndrome), apraxia, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, etc., have quickly learned the alphabet, and have been able to learn to read, spell and write through the Zoo-phonics® methodology. Children (and their parents) quickly see their own progress, and self-image and confidence grows. Children have been successfully mainstreamed or included because of the efficiency of this program.
  • Zoo-phonics® works exceptionally well with students with learning disabilities because it is concrete, uses pictorial mnemonics, is kinesthetic and multi-modal.
  • With Zoo-phonics®, children learn to read and spell through their eyes, mouth, ears and body. If one perceptual channel is weak, there are three other channels to take over and support the weak one. For example, if a child has an auditory deficit, his/her eyes, mouth and body will take over and help him or her to access, understand, memorize, use and transfer the new information. Children learn though Zoo-phonics® when no other program works.
  • The colorful Animal Letters and Body Movements (Signals) engage the child and hold his or her attention. Because the curriculum is so playful, children not only want to learn, their behavior improves because the children are on task and happy while learning through Zoo-phonics®. Instead of telling children to “sit down and be quiet” we encourage them to wiggle their hands and body and make sounds (letter sounds)!

FREE! Zoo-phonics® Fidelity Paper Maximize learning!

By the end of fourth grade, I was reading at a fifth grade level; just like magic.

My name is Lori McPherson and I am a mother of two littles in Rancho Murieta, California. First I want to take a moment to say truly, thank you. In 1992 I was eight years old and entering a new school because I could not keep up at the private catholic school that I had been attending. I was entering the fourth grade and could not read. I excelled in all subjects on every diagnostic test given to me, as long as the instructor read to me. My parents had taken me to every tutor available and had me tested for every diagnosis possible. The result was always the same, there was nothing wrong with me, I just could not read. As I began fourth grade and the school started to talk about special education classes, one counselor came up with an idea. She had heard of a special new phonics that maybe would help me. I was tutored using Zoo-Phonics and guess what? By the end of fourth grade, I was reading at a fifth grade level; just like magic. Nothing had ever worked before. I was so embarrassed and exhausted with learning and Zoo-Phonics taught me to read. What you created was a true gift to me and my thanks could never be enough. Fast forward to December of last year and my little boy, Henry was still struggling at age three and a half to speak in sentences. My rational brain has told me since he was two and not talking, that he will move at his own pace and will be fine. My irrational, mommy brain has been screaming, “What if he is in the fourth grade and can’t read!”. He has previously been to physicians who say he is behind however, is a perfectly healthy, intelligent, typical little boy. We sent him to a preschool program within a daycare setting for the past year and have not been happy with the “extra” socialization he is receiving from one of the teachers and several of the other children. Because I am a totally rational, well adjusted adult, I did what any normal non-mommy brain adult would do… I decided to become an early childhood educator at the age of thirty-five. 😉 In February of 2019 I began classes in Early Childhood Education and have learned so much. Slowly, I have realized that this is all so instinctual to me. While going through my mom’s old box of everything she wanted to save from my early childhood I found a book that my teachers helped me create in preschool. They asked us questions and wrote down our answers. I could not contain my laughter when I read, “What do you want to be when you grow, up? Answer: A mommy, A teacher, A Doctor, and A Rockstar. Make sure you put it in that order!” It all makes sense to me now. My spunky little, four year old self was telling the future: Mommy to Henry and Margaret, followed by Early Childhood Educator, followed by Early Childhood Education Professor, Followed by… well maybe I’ll become famous and meet Gwen Stefani and we’ll make an Early Childhood Education Rap record together, making me a Rockstar. Hey, anything could happen! In all seriousness, I truly have found my calling and am determined to give my children the best education possible. Because, I believe that all children, especially my strong willed little man, need educators other than their parents involved in their lives, my husband and I have enrolled Henry in a carefully selected preschool program that begins in September of 2019. One our search we even stopped by your Safari Learning Center because I had been listening to your podcast, which I found in a search of Early Childhood Education on iphone app. Imagine my surprise when I realized who you were. The educator who created Zoo-Phonics and your center was an hour and a half away from me! My husband and I grew up in a Mississippi river town of 30,000 people in Illinois. We moved to San Diego, California, for his work, in 2012 and Sacramento in 2014 because we were pregnant and could not afford to live in a one bedroom shack on the beach with a baby. We moved to start our family and moved an hour and half away from the creator of the program that taught me to read! Your program and way of educating has inspired me so much. While we are waiting for Henry to start preschool two days a week I will be teaching him and two of his friends Zoo-Phonics. When he begins preschool in the Fall I will continue to teach his friends as well as him on the other three mornings of the week. My hope is that using them as my cute little test subjects, combined with my own schooling, I will be able to start my own, small, neighborhood preschool program in the future. Much appreciation for all that you do, Lori McPherson

Lori McPherson, mom and early-educator-to-be April 10, 2019

Zoo-kids and now Zoo-grand kids!

I am a retired school social worker and  just placed an order to re-order a Parent Kit as a grandparent.  I raised my 3 children in Calaveras County, and a few of their teachers introduced me to Zoo-phonics back in the late 80's. I ran a small home preschool, and all 6 of our students learned to read in their 4th year within a few months using Zoo Phonics.  My own daughter learned in 3 days!  Later, when she went to kindergarten and was introduced to "Climbing Mount Learning" and Open Court phonics, she came home in tears.  She said they'd talked about how hard it was going to be to learn to read.  I reassured her she already knew how to read and that she already knew it wasn't hard it was fun!!   Of course Open Court's crazy system WAS confusing. "Hissing tire, hissing tire, SSS"..  I thought it was the dumbest system I'd ever encountered!  The tire is the shape of an O, the word tire starts with a T, and so how was a child to key on just the sound of S and associate it with the movement of air leaving a tire?  How many kids in the 80's encountered flat tires?   Zoo-phonics was so natural, including the stories to create the blends which the kids remembered and loved.  As parents, both my husband, who was the Special Ed Director, and I made a big pitch to the district to change; at the time it wasn't "research validated" yet so we lost that battle.  Fortunately, the special ed kids continued to access it and benefit.  I told my daughter to just ignore all the methods, read the way she already knew how to sound out words, and if she failed any phonics tests, just ask them to allow her to read to them their questions and her answers....   This brings me to today's order.  I have a 4 year old grandson who was struggling to read on our last visit but now recognizes all of his letters without any help from any system and knows many sounds.  So I delved into the garage boxes to find my Zoo-phonics materials, when I remembered I had donated them to a local preschool when I downsized.  I was so frustrated because I knew he was ready to read!  So he's coming for a visit this weekend and I wanted to be ready with materials! My next purchase will be the vowel puppets! Sincerely, Heather O'Brophy

Heather O'Brophy, retired school social worker & at home preschool owner August 31, 2018

Ever since, I have considered Zoo-phonics to be the greatest tool in my teacher’s tool box!

Our private elementary school located in Silicon Valley was about a 20 minute drive from a large country club community that boasted an excellent, well-funded neighborhood public school. Over a period of a few years, we noticed a trend: many families from the country club area utilized our Pre-school and Kindergarten, and then would transfer to their neighborhood school for 1st grade.  One day I shared our observation with a parent with whom I felt comfortable, gently inquiring why this might be so.  She immediately responded, ‘Oh, we talk about you out there!  You see, our local school runs a developmental Kindergarten program, but when kids arrive in 1st grade they seem to be expected to know how to read.  Parents feel like no one there really teaches them how to do it.  The word spread between parents and we’ve learned that we can come to you, because you know how to teach children how to read!’  I am so thankful to have had a principal who equipped the Pre-school through 1st Grade teachers with the Zoo-phonics program!  Ever since, I have considered Zoo-phonics to be the greatest tool in my teacher’s tool box!

Kelly Witmer, retired elementary school teacher, Achiever Christian School May 31, 2018