Zoo-phonics® will close your classroom’s gender gap

Young Girl and Umber

Zoo-phonics® will close your classroom’s gender gap

Research finds that boys are slipping behind girls on almost all academic milestones. The latest NAEP writing assessments (2007) show boys scoring an average 20 points lower than girls. For those in low economic areas or who are special education students, the chasm is even larger.

The results reveal how crucial the early years of school are in laying the foundation to reduce this discrepancy.

According to Michael Gurlan’s research…

  • Boys’ brains are “wired” in such a way that language is a more difficult skill for them to acquire and use effectively in learning than it is for girls.
  • Early-childhood language activities must be paired with movement and or the use of manipulatives.
  • Boys are more dependent on pictures, diagrams and graphs.
  • Girls write, read, and speak more words than males.
  • The teacher must engage boys by appealing to their “competitive energy” through physical movement and manipulation of physical objects, and games.
  • This is exactly what Zoo-phonics® does best. It uses pictorial mnemonics (animal letters), body movements (signal) and teaches through physical games and activities. It makes an abstract skill (language) concrete and playful. No longer are boys left behind in early education language arts lessons!


  • Gurian, M. & Stevens, K., The Mind of Boys, Saving our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers (2005)
  • Gurian, M. & Ballew, A., The Boys and Girls Learn Differently Action Guide for Teachers, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers (2003)

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