About Us

My name is Frances Woodward and I am the founder of Forward with Phonics. I have specialised in the teaching of reading, using synthetic phonics since 1999 have had successful outcomes with all ages of learner, from five to seventy-five!

The Government has acknowledged the findings of the research presented in the Rose Report (March 2006) and synthetic phonics is deemed the way forward in the teaching of reading. Prof Jim Rose concluded that synthetic phonics, delivered within a systematic programme, is the most effective way to teach children to read. My personal experience leads me to believe that it is the most effective way of teaching any beginner reader, regardless of age.

In 2007 I was part of a team involved in a research project entitled “Improving the quality of teaching and learning in adult literacy”. It was funded by the National Research and Development Centre (NRDC) and based at Sheffield University under the leadership of Dr.Maxine Burton. One of the areas being researched was the use of phonics with adults and the results were very encouraging. The learners made significant progress in reading and spelling. The findings can be reviewed in ‘Improving Reading – Phonics and Fluency’, an NRDC publication.

For the past twelve years I have worked with adults who are illiterate or who have very poor reading skills. I use the Sounds-Write programme, which I find is easily adapted to any age group. “Why hasn’t anybody told me this before” and “I wish I had met you years ago” are common quotes from my appreciative learners. It is not me they are indebted to but their introduction to synthetic phonics, which, at last, helps them understand the complexities of our written language.

I am an Independent Trainer for Sounds-Write and run courses for teachers in schools and tutors in Further Education Colleges. I have run courses for Education Support Workers in the Looked After Children sector and this led to running a special course for foster parents who wanted to know more about phonics in order to help the children in their care. In 2011, I ran a course at a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) school near Bangalore, India. It was a privilege to be involved in the training of the teachers for this brand new school, which is offering free education to the local quarry children.  In 2015, I was invited to run courses in different parts of Zambia: one in Lusaka, one in Mongu and one in Limulunga. The teachers were so appreciative and, in many cases, travelled miles to attend the courses. Later that year, I went to America to train a group of volunteers who work with children in a school in downtown New York. It is exciting to work in such a variety of locations and to encourage teachers in other countries to use phonics to help struggling readers.

I started my teaching career as a Primary School teacher and have over twenty years experience in various parts of England, Scotland and Canada, where I completed a year on a Teacher Exchange programme. I have a Teaching Certificate and B.Ed from Birmingham University. For the past fifteen years I have worked as a reading specialist in schools, colleges, with Adult Community Learning and as a private tutor.

I have over twelve years’ experience as a private tutor helping children and adults raise their level of reading and spelling. I have worked in schools with small groups and individual children who have been identified as having reading difficulties. In the Further Education sector, I have taught Skills for Life Literacy and ESOL Literacy classes for learners who find reading and spelling the language difficult. Recently, I ran a successful two year project in a local Primary School to improve the reading of the parents.

I, therefore, have extensive experience with all ages of learner and am in a position to advise on the use of phonics across the educational spectrum. It is my aim to help teachers realise the importance of phonics in helping the new generation of young children and to promote its use in teaching the thousands of adults who still struggle to read.

Case Study

I was asked to run a Sounds-Write course for the teachers of a new NGO school which was being opened at the beginning of June 2011. The Banyan School is the latest project of The Lovedale Foundation... read more


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