Picaro x Sounds English Phonics by Zaprendo

27/04/2020 15:30

The Advantage

The Picaro learning journey, combined with Zaprendo’s Sounds English Phonics (SEP), teaches children to read in English.

By incorporating SEP’s research-based approach into the Picaro course, the teaching of phonics and reading will be 2.8 times more effective and students’ reading ages will increase from 6.5 years to 8.5 years of age in an accelerated timeframe.

Why SEP x Picaro?

Driven by research

1) The SEP app was developed following research that identified high-frequency written sounds which occur in children’s early literature.

2) SEP ensures children quickly acquire the necessary phonics knowledge to become independent readers. 

3) Once children have learnt the 92 frequently occurring written sounds, they will have increased their reading age from approximately 6.5 years to 8.5 years of age.  Typically, this journey takes a month.

4) Combined with Picaro’s English learning course mapped to the CYL curriculum, children develop the skills to be able to confidently read, write and speak in English.


Adored by children

1) The learning journey of the SEP app is eye-catching and children will love travelling through the world of Lumos.

2) Children will be able to put their developing phonics skills into practice with the Picaro Storybooks and the Zaprendo Guided Readers (mapped onto the CYL curriculum of Starters, Movers and Flyers).

3) Just three, five-minute sessions on the SEP app each day - for a month or less - is enough to enhance a child’s reading by two years.  This helps them to become independent readers and therefore develop a love for reading.


Developed by teachers, for teachers

1) Each child’s learning journey is unique.  SEP provides a personalised approach, meaning only written sounds that each child does not know are taught.  SEP discovers these ‘unknowns’ by a behind-the-scenes application of formative assessment which the learner is unaware of; there is no testing.  This makes every moment on the app a learning moment. 

2) Picaro and SEP have been designed with children with special educational needs (SEN) in mind so teachers can be confident that no child is left behind.  Both programmes use dyslexia-friendly fonts and the SEP app has strong visual appeal and soothing music; the perfect resource to engage children in their learning. 

3) The app offers optional pronunciation support for the written sounds that learners do not know.  It also reinforces the concept that written sounds are transferrable by requiring the learner to physically ‘drag’ written sounds (and their icons) into new words. 

4) Learning is independent as voice-overs are used to explain lessons and the in-built formative assessment of the app requires no teacher monitoring or intervention.

5) Using Picaro’s handwriting practice, teachers can provide a blended approach to teaching phonics and letter formation, whilst also developing children’s motor skills. 


How SEP x Picaro?

The SEP app can be used after children have completed Picaro Units 1 to 12 and Picaro Phonics C.  Picaro Phonics A and B introduce children to single-letter sounds and Picaro Phonics C introduces children to letter groupings, where more than one grapheme represents an English sound.  At this stage, children should have a reading age of at least six and a half years and a secure understanding of the sounds commonly associated with English graphemes. 

The poster contains 92 frequently-occurring written sounds, as a result of analysis of 100s of early-readers texts.  The SEP method links each written sound with an image as a reminder of the sound it represents.  These icons are used across the Zaprendo product suite: in the SEP app, on the poster and the workstation mats

Learning in the classroom and at home


Zaprendo resources and how they complement learning with Picaro perfectly:

Use Zaprendo’s diagnostic test to determine whether a child recognises the 92 high-frequency written sounds in the English language.  In order for a child to develop fluency, and therefore independent and enjoyable reading skills, they need to be able to recognise these sounds by sight to speed-up their decoding of words.  The Dig Deeper book series is suitable for children studying Units 9 to 16 in Picaro and is ideal for spelling and comprehension activities.