Success Stories

High School and College Testimonials

Even Better Results! John Forrest Secondary College

In the past years students’ test results after completing The Sound Way have been outstanding. The pre and post test results documented below indicate just how amazing The Sound Way program is. Our school’s NAPLAN results have improved and over the past few years we have achieved above both the State and the Australian mean.

Summary of our Year 8 Sound Way Test Results



Louise Santarelli
John Forrest Secondary College, WA

Huge improvement – outstanding results

Swan View Senior High School has now engaged every student from Years 8 through 11 in the program. We have seen outstanding results with some students increasing their oral reading age beyond 5 years. We have also seen an improvement in whole cohort systemic test performance. For instance our 2013 Year 9 students demonstrated that in all test instruments our students were placed in the High Progress High Achievement Quadrant when compared to Like Schools. This is a huge improvement and demonstrates that the Sound Way has value added to our students’ literacy needs. In 2015 we will be administering the Sound Way to all new Year 7 and 8 enrolments.

Damian Shuttleworth
Swan View Senior High School

Fabulous For Developing Competence in English

"Balga Senior High School has used The Sound Way program for 6 years. Indigenous and migrant students have improved their reading ages by as much as 4 years in 10-15 weeks. It is fabulous for developing competence in the English language, improving memory, hand writing skills, posture and team work. We are now using the newly developed paragraphing and sentencing work materials."


Geoff Harris
Balga Senior High School, W.A.

Immediate Results! Some Students Increased Their Reading Age By 5-Years

The Sound Way is definitely the best program of its kind that I have come across. We have now put well over 150 students through the programme with excellent results. Students regularly increased their spelling age by 5 years in one term, with our current record improvement being 6.9 years in 10 weeks. Students also exhibit marked increases in comprehension levels, regularly doubling their understanding.

The program gives students the key to unlock previously firmly bolted doors to understanding by demystifying the English language so that students understand how words are constructed. The program's philosophy and structure also reflects the latest research on how the brain reprograms and learns.


As an English teacher with 10 years experience both in England and Australia it is an immense relief to be able to say to students, "I guarantee you success," and know that I can! The programme has made a huge difference to the students of this school.

Thank you Sound Way. It is a wonderful thing to see students who were scared of the English language fighting to read aloud. It doesn"t get better than that!

Patrick Deadman
Engaging Lofty Futures
Toowoomba Senior High School

Blown Away With Results!

"We were blown away with the results we gained after the 8 weeks of The Sound Way program. We had students improving up to 5 years in spelling age and over 6 years in reading. Not only did the students improve in reading and spelling but also their confidence soared. One of the biggest buzzes for me was to have the dyslexic student come to the programme one morning and say, "guess what I did yesterday - I read". He had an assignment to do in class that involved reading and for the first time in his life he had been able to read the assignment, follow the written instructions and then respond in writing."

Robyn Spalding Newstead College
Tasmania (16 - 18 year old students)

Students, Teachers and Parents All Full of Praise!

"Each year students at our school celebrate their personal achievements in oral reading and spelling after successfully completing The Sound Way to Reading, Writing and Spelling program. It has a definite thumbs-up from our whole school community. We have been using it for 10 years now, and consistently see an awesome change in the skill level, reading accuracy and self-confidence of participating students.

Of extreme importance are the students own, "Post Sound Way" Reflections":• "I'm passing Maths for the first time."• "I got 20 out of 30 for my Science test. My highest before was only 12."• "I can now read all the words on my Sims games before they fall off the screen."• "I've tried lots of things in the past and I didn't want to do this course because none of the others had helped. BUT THIS ONE DID!" • "I'm being nominated for Pathway 1 English next year."• "I've read all the "Harry Potter" books since finishing the course."Teachers, students and parents alike, are all full of praise for this course!"


Heather, HelbigLiteracy Support
Carine Senior High School. W.A.

I am a 15-year-old student in year 10 and I attend our local high school. I felt as though I was struggling with English and I had heard about The Sound Way program, so I thought why not give it a go. I completed the programme in 6 weeks and I feel I have achieved a major goal.

My English teacher asked me to stay behind after one of our lessons. He told me how well I had been going and he asked if I had been seeing a private tutor. I said I had been working extra hard. I felt great! I was so proud of myself to know someone else noticed the change.

From the correct pen hold to the breaking down of syllables, this program has helped in every way possible. I feel as though I have achieved so much. I would recommend this program to anyone no matter what your age or your ability. I would sincerely like to thank Craig Henderson for producing this program as it has helped me immensely.

Andrew H.
(High school student - N.S.W)

I recently finished The Sound Way program and I'm writing you a letter to let you know how much I've gained and how much I appreciated this program

When I first started I was spelling at the age of a 10 year-old (6 years behind my actual age) and I was reading at the age of a 14 year-old. Since I have completed this program I've improved massively, and now when I'm spelling or even writing in class I find myself breaking down the words and going through the phonic communicators. I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to improve my spelling and reading and I hope that future groups appreciate this program as much as I do.

Samantha H.
(High school student N.S.W.)

Primary School Testimonials


This highly effective program quickly improved our students’ literacy levels through integrating clear and explicit phonic teaching with the rules of English spelling.

As a teacher I found it easy to use due to the clarity with which the video tutor explains and clearly lays out each step along the way using a direct instructional approach. Within a few lessons students had become familiar with the lesson routine, became comfortable with teachers’ high expectations, and remained focused and on their toes as they learnt.

The efficacy of the program comes down to Craig ‘s use of repetition to reinforce the different sounds and letter combinations. Students quickly learn these sounds; which increases their spelling ability and allows them to comprehend unsighted words more swiftly; aiding the reading process. One particularly pleasing outcome was how the students were no longer intimidated by larger and longer words because they had learnt how to break these words down into individual syllables. I found much success in motivating students participation by encouraging healthy competition during their ‘Check-Ups’ and daily quizzes.

I set a high standard of handwriting and challenged my students to see who else in this particular group could increase their reading age by 4 years. I found this worked as a great motivator with all my students.

I highly recommend this powerful program as a tool for you to use. It will rapidly increase your students’ literacy skills and is a great program to use during the first term of any teaching year because it sets students up for academic success.


Kevin Lowe

Nothing Short of Miraculous!

"My class has just completed our term of the The Sound Way program. I have noticed a change in these children that is nothing short of miraculous. For most, they have gone from being not only a group of strugglers, but a class of children who were mostly anti-education and completely shut down! Our school had set up this special class this year as a trial project; not only to try to turn them around, but also to give the rest of the year level a break from their extreme apathy and dejection (on the whole). Our goal was to do as much as we could to lift them out of this, as well as try to get their learning back on track. Many factors have contributed to why these children had ended up this way. Children are now finishing their work, they are proud of their efforts, they are getting good results on tests for the first time in their lives. Nothing is too hard now, they believe that they are capable of anything, and they are! I've so enjoyed running this programme and I've got so much pleasure out of seeing the huge improvement in these lovely, happy, excited (formerly dejected and overwhelmed) children. I have never felt the thrill of success like I have this year. It really HAS made such a difference to the children and to me and my teaching style and focus."

Jayne West,
Heatley State School,

Transformed students' Reading and Writing Abilities School Wide

The implementation of The Sound Way program has truly transformed the reading, writing and spelling abilities of students school wide. Teachers have embraced the programme wholeheartedly, with the support and commitment of students and parents alike. As literacy coordinator, I was able to participate within all lessons from Prep – Grade 6 and the achievements documented were truly amazing. Gains as much as 5 years 6 months were recorded in Grade 5/6 students in reading, while gains of 4 years 6 months were made in spelling. Within Prep grades gains of 3 years were made in spelling and reading in eleven weeks.

Assistant Principal
Commercial Road Primary School,
Morwell, Victoria

Value of Program Lies In Its Impact On Children!

The value of this program lies in its impact on children at all stages of spelling / reading development. By this I mean that:

For the children who are really struggling, the program provides a solid framework and structure by which they are able to develop their basic skills.

For the average child, the program offers the opportunity of developing greater understanding of the building blocks of the language, thus allowing them to explore and develop with greater insight and confidence.

For the outstanding student, there is the opportunity to question, dissect and more fully understand the finer intricacies of our language, thus allowing the individual to experiment with word-building and usage in a confident manner.

The Sound Way to Spelling, Writing and Reading program offers a pathway to success for students of all abilities who choose to work at improving their skills in reading, writing and spelling.

Craig, below are the results of the pre and post testing conducted with my class using the Slosson Sort-R Word Recognition Test and the South Australian Spelling Age Test .

You can clearly see the across the class improvement in one term with both word recognition and spelling.

Terry Sawade (Year 6/7 class) Loxton North Primary School,
South Australia

Two Demographically Different Schools - Same Most Pleasing Results!

I have introduced The Sound Way program, at two demographically different schools, achieving the same most pleasing results at both.

It is my opinion that the vast majority of children need a significant amount of structure if they are to learn and master high level literacy skills. The Sound Way program provides this structure with its controlled, step by step approach. The best results are not dependant upon the level of teaching experience of the teacher but rather the level of active participation the teacher demonstrates during the program's presentation. Teachers who "sit and watch' tend to achieve lesser results.

  • Many Children who participate in the program achieve results which even astound themselves.
  • Of significant benefit is the improved writing and presentation of the children's bookwork.
  • This rapid development clearly impacts on the levels of self confidence and self esteem displayed by many of the children.
  • I highly recommend this program to all other schools!

Jeff Lovegrove
Doveton North Primary School

Home Testimonials


My 13 year old twins did The Sound Way program just over a year ago. They were about to go to high school and my struggling son was starting high school in a remedial literacy class. After completing The Sound Way program he went from being a struggling student, to being a capable student in a main-stream class with the rest of his friends. His confidence has literally gone through the roof, and he is now happy and thoroughly enjoys reading. His sister, who didn’t really need to do the programm, now finds herself able to apply the things she learned from the programme to spell new words she doesn’t even know.

We were so impressed with what the two of them have learned, that we’ve decided to start our 10 year old on The Sound Way. We believe it’s like giving kids the picture to the jigsaw puzzle. Before, they may have had some of the pieces, but didn’t know where they all went. Now, not only do they have all of the pieces, but they also know how to solve the puzzle that is the English Language.

Mr & Mrs Neale


Dear Sir,

We cannot thank you enough for your efforts in creating a learning tool that has helped our daughter, Louise, learn to read. The Sound Way program has allowed Louise to move from a withdrawn defensive position when it came to reading, to a happy, self-motivated girl who is now meeting many challenges head on.

We have not felt the need to do the lessons again, although we may repeat 31 - 53 later this year. Louise has made very steady progress and is now reading "The Hobbit" and "Deltora Quest" and relishing every word.

Your Sound Way program has not only allowed our daughter to learn to spell, read and write. We found that our seven year old son, Damien, who has Cerebral Palsy, has also benefited greatly. Damien's learning process had effectively stalled when he left a special school using another phonics program to mainstream school. Despite being in a special class, the system being used, like in Louise's case, was just not working. Damien has watched the series of videos since just after Louise began the program. Damien has made huge progress in his spelling and reading. It is difficult to put into words how well your product has helped our family.

Thank you.
Yours Sincerely,
Alison and David Schmidtchen
Very Happy Parents!


Dear Mr. Henderson,

My daughters, Joella and Rebekah, aged 11 and 9, completed the program for their first time earlier this year as part of their home-schooling program. I am very pleased with the outcome on completion of the program.

Before commencing the program, Rebekah, aged 8 at the time, had refused to learn to read. Joella on the other hand, could read very well, at a very fast speed, with good comprehension, but was an extremely poor speller. I tried many other programs and workbooks with both of them but with no success in rectifying their problems. The Sound Way addressed both their reading and spelling difficulties with great success and now they are both continuing to improve constantly.

The Sound Way was the answer to my frustration in home-schooling!

Thanking you,
Yours faithfully,
Annette Newitt


April 2010

I’m writing this letter to you to give you an update of Larissa’s progress since completing The Sound Way program in 2004. If you remember, Larissa’s schooling was drastically impeded by the fact that she had entered her high school years with well below average reading, writing and spelling skills. Your programme gave Larissa skills and confidence that exceeded our wildest expectations.

She began to read novels for pleasure, and was able to comprehend what she’d read; she was even able to assist her younger sisters with spelling. During Larissa’s senior years of high school she gained her Certificate 3 in childcare and obtained her Senior First Aid Certificate; not bad for a girl who could hardly read!

Larissa has now completed her schooling and is working part time in an early childcare centre; she is even giving assistance to her friends who are working towards their Certificate 3 in childcare.

Once again I would like to thank you for a wonderful program and the difference you’ve made to Larissa’s future. I can confidently say that without your program Larissa’s future would have been very grim. My only regret is that I didn’t find your program earlier.

Yours faithfully,
Kathy Jones - (Kathy's original testimony below)

I have a 12 year-old daughter, Larissa, who started her secondary education this year. My daughter has learning difficulties and has been diagnosed with Dyspraxia. Although she has been well behind her peers since commencing her schooling, we have never been given the option of repeating her, or given any guidance as to how we could improve her situation. I personally believe she was put in the 'too hard basket'.

I then sought further help for my daughter, which involved travelling to Sydney once a week for seven weeks, then a two-week intensive treatment in the school holidays. We are situated 500km from Sydney . Including travel, accommodation and the treatment itself, we spent close to $10,000. Although I would never begrudge this for my daughter, we found this to be a great physical and financial strain. We were told Larissa would need further intensive treatment, and then would be ready to receive remedial teaching. We would then again have to travel to Sydney weekly. At this point we were unable to meet the monetary demands required of us, therefore we had to postpone further treatment. Larissa started her high school education with a reading ability of 8.3 years, a comprehension ability of 7.11, her spelling 8.4 years and was placed at the end of kindergarten in relation to auditory processing and phonetic awareness skills. She was given a teacher's aide for two lessons per week, one being English and the other mathematics, and although I appreciated the efforts made by the high school, I felt the help was inadequate for Larissa to make any substantial improvements. I was also told that Larissa would be given the opportunity to undertake 'life skills' when high school proved too hard for her, and thus enabling her to cope with the simple things in life.

Purchasing The Sound Way Home Program has turned out to be the best decision I could have made. Your program has provided Larissa not only with new reading and spelling abilities, but is the reason for her new found confidence and self-esteem. I am a mother of four girls, Larissa being my second eldest. I have worried endlessly in regards to her prospects later in her life, and honestly could see no real future for her in terms of employment. I felt that I had failed as a parent and it was literally breaking my heart. Due to The Sound Way program this has all changed. Although she will still have to work hard to reach her goals, it will be achievable. This has opened a whole new world for Larissa, I now feel she will have choices in life. Thank you Craig Henderson, for a wonderful program, for Larissa's new direction in life, for your desire to help others, and most importantly, for a mother's peace-of-mind.

Kathy Jones
Bombala NSW


My name is Peter Woodward and I'm 47 years old. I left school at the age of 14 with virtually no education at all. I started working in the north west of Western Australia labouring on construction sites, moving from job to job, which wasn't too bad as there was plenty of work around at that time. Twenty plus years later still in the same line of work, I had an accident and damaged my back and as a result, became unable to work in that type of industry anymore. It was really devastating for me, as I loved construction work.

Over the next few years I tried many different types of jobs that wouldn't be a burden on my back, and one of them was running a lunch bar. I quite liked the job but it was there that I knew I had to so something about my spelling. I was selling hamburgers, and the recipe was my father-in-law's, Brian, so I called them ‘Brian Burgers', the only problem was I didn't know how to spell and I had them on display as ‘Brain Burgers". I was laughed at quite a lot and was very embarrassed.

It was then that I decided to do Craig's course, and what a difference - absolutely unbelievable - it actually changed my life. Three and a half years down the road I'm at the Joondalup Campus of TAFE WA , studying to be an enrolled Nurse, learning all about human biology, microbiology, physics, maths and calculations, chemistry and heaps more. I mean I didn't even know how to spell these names let alone learn about them. I love with a passion what I am doing now and I know without doing this course ( The Sound Way) I wouldn't be where I am today. I've even had fellow students at TAFE ask me how to spell a word for them! Can you believe it, asking me?? After telling them I just look up with a smile.

I truly recommend this course to anyone that has difficulty in spelling, writing or reading; it really will change your life.


All the best for your new future.
Peter Woodward


It is with great pleasure that I am able to share my experiences with The Sound Way program. My 6-year-old son Daniel entered Grade 1 this year with many problems, so I was told. He was not reading or attempting to try to read, and his confidence was very low. For this reason he was not enjoying school and did not want to go stating it was ‘too hard'. Words such as ‘dyslexic' and ‘blank' were the words being used to describe my boy. My son's school had him assessed and they ascertained that he needed a speech therapist due to a lack of phonological awareness.

Daniel is the youngest of 5 children who are all doing very well at school. For me as a mother I was absolutely devastated and gutted when told Daniel had this ‘problem'. I felt I had failed him somehow. I knew my son could talk, and a speech therapist did not make sense to me. So I looked into the area of phonics and came across The Sound Way programme.

After much discussion with the creator, Mr. Craig Henderson, I decided to purchase the program and my son has never looked back. On entering Grade 1, Daniel was at Reading Level 1, which is the ‘I can't read' level. I started The Sound Way program with Daniel at the end of Term 1 and carried it through the school holidays; both Daniel and I found the program easy and enjoyable.

On Daniels return to school for Term 2, I asked his teacher to benchmark his reading level. To my delight, and her amazement, he had advanced to level 8. All Grade 1 children must benchmark to level 15 by the end of the year, so to know Daniel was half way there was a relief.

We continued with the program, Daniel continued to climb the reading ladder. We are now at the end of term 2 and ready for our next school holidays but this time we enter them confident and relaxed because Daniel has already surpassed his year 1 benchmark level and is reading at level 16. All this accomplished in one term.

We have a great school, but I was offered nothing in regards to Daniel's "problems", and the feeling of helplessness was overwhelming. I would encourage any parent whose child is having difficulties to look outside the square because what you will find is nothing short of amazing

Through Daniel's tenacity to prove them wrong and The Sound Way program, which enabled him to do this, I am eternally grateful and I recommend this program to every parent.

Cathy Newman. Campbelltown, N.S.W.


Dear Craig,

My daughter, Alyssa is aged 5 and at the time of starting the program had only just started Grade 1.

My husband and I did not want to ‘take a gamble' that she may or may not become a competent reader, writer and speller through our current school system as the numbers of illiterate graduates are ever increasing. We had seen your program featured a few times over the past couple of years on 'A Current Affair' and each time were very impressed with what we saw. Alyssa has always been quite a bright child but she is also the youngest in her class and we thought if we could give her a helping hand with her reading, writing and spelling then she would develop more confidence in handling other tasks and social skills.

We are currently one third of the way through the course and already we are thoroughly impressed with what Alyssa has learned. I think sometimes we underestimate a five year old's capacity for understanding and learning and we have been amazed at what she has learnt so far.

It is such a joy to watch ‘the light go on' in a little girl's world and see her reading everything she can get her hands on.

We believe we made the best investment in our child's future by purchasing The Sound Way program.

We cannot speak more highly about this invaluable tool.


Kind Regards,
Adam and Jenny Kemp

International Testimonials

Amazing Himalaya Tibetan Refugee Students

Sambhota Tibetan School

Dear Sir,

We are very fortunate to receive your e-mail which is regarding our student’s performance using The Sound Way program. Thank you so much for your kind concern.

Since introducing the Sound Way into our school it has created an enormous impact and has greatly benefited our students by enabling them to learn and practice the skills of reading, writing and spelling English. In our school the English language is introduced from class IV onwards

The word practice exercises and the process of marking the words correctly, along with learning the Phonic Communicators, has enabled our students and me to pronounce English words correctly and read sentences more fluently.

We are sending some photographs of the students performing various activities along with some video links for you to watch our students using The Sound Way program.

* Amazing links below! See 9-year-old Tibetan students blitzing The Sound Way program.


With regards,
Mrs.Bistimai and Mrs.Pemla
English teachers Sambhota

Kings College Shanghai, China

Kings College Shanghai is a vocational English school located in the prestigious Jingan district. Kings College used The Sound Way to Spelling, Writing and Reading program for a three week intensive course with over 90 students.

As the Director of Studies at Kings College it was my responsibility to select, implement and evaluate curriculum materials for our various English programmes. In my experience the curriculums currently available are essentially based on the same educational methodologies, with results being based largely reliant on the skill of the teachers presenting the course, regardless of the materials they employed.

The Sound Way to Spelling, Writing and Reading English program is different from other English Courses because it is delivered via DVD, and the class teacher plays the role of a facilitator, or aide. This delivery method allowed us to get the same results with different groups and different teachers.

The results that we got from the three groups that went through our summer intensive program using The Sound Way course were nothing short of amazing.

Students had an average of 2 years improvement in their spelling ability and spelling age in just under 4 weeks. Our greatest improvement was 3.5 year increase in spelling age. Another remarkable improvement that we found with all the students was their sense of accomplishment after finishing the course. This I believe was due to their newfound understanding of the mechanics of the English language and has resulted in a huge confidence boost for all of the students involved.

The Sound Way program is a program that delivers results that cannot be matched in the ESL market today. I would recommend this program to any ESL school seeking materials that deliver outstanding results.

Jorian Cunliffe Director of Studies Kings College,

Ahmed Bin Majid SchoolMuscat , Oman (Middle East)

Ahmed Bin Majid school is one of Oman 's premiere private schools, it was the first school in Oman to trial The Sound Way program.

Teachers as well as students were trained in the same course, results are attached and they show remarkable improvement of reading and spelling ability in all the students (including the teachers).

After the initial training course teachers then taught The Sound Way program to their classes and continued to get excellent results.

Results from the classes taught by the Ahmed Bin Majid teachers are attached.

Ahmed Bin Majid School has recorded results in line with results gained in schools all around the world. Candidates showed an average growth in reading and spelling capability of 2.2 years on an international scale according to the Slosson Oral Reading Sort-R test.

Candidates and teachers lauded the program as the first course that really explained how English worked – the results were only half of the story because the real change was in the candidate's attitudes towards English and other subjects.

Teachers felt happy that they were able get such remarkable results from their candidates whilst learning new techniques for teaching and instruction of their class.

Ministry of Defence, Royal Army of Oman Sultanate of Oman

The Oman Ministry of Defence Royal Oman Army ran a pilot study in Muscat with a group of high ranking officers for an intensive Sound Way course lasting 4 weeks. The officers came from a range of different levels and many had not attended an English course for fifteen years. The average age of the officers was 40. At the end of the program all the officers noted a major improvement in their English ability. At the end of the course a questionnaire was given out and the results were collated, the results showed that 100% of the officers thought that The Sound Way Program was the best English spelling, writing and reading program they had ever used and most of the officers asked to purchase the program to give to their children and family. Average increases of 80% in spelling ability and 82% in reading ability were evidenced and recorded after pre- and post-testing had been conducted.


Holy Cross Convent Bangalore, India 17 March 2010

Dear Craig,The students are again doing extremely well. Your hard work is seen in each video. Every day we think of you. This is the third batch I am teaching. I am up to the 12th lesson, and the students are picking it up easily and well. I am grateful to you for designing this programme. I just love it!

I am thankful to you for introducing it to us here in India. My wonderful experience with The Sound Wayprogramme is that I enjoy teaching it. While teaching it, I am also learning how to teach the students in a whole new and innovative way. You are my model when I take the English class, and I am learning so much from you. I am confident that your truly unique programme allows all of my students to learn English quickly, easily and in the most thorough and systematic way. I will see to it that wherever I am, I include this wonderful programme.

Following are some excerpts taken from students’ experiences with The Sound Way:

  • "After this programme I have greatly improved in English,"
  • "I have learned to pronounce, read and write English words,"
  • "I improved my handwriting,"
  • "It is an exciting programme through which I have gained confidence to speak English,"
  • "I am confident to give a speech,"
  • "I have improved my vocabulary,"
  • "It is a unique and interesting one,"
  • "I learned to be accurate and neat in my writing,"
  • "I started writing my notes like the handwriting in The Sound Way programme,"
  • "I am able to speak to the public because I am empowered with the correct way to speak, read and write."

Teachers' Experience:

    • "I am empowered to teach English,"
    • "I feel happy that I am giving the best to my students,"
    • "I feel I am not misleading them with the wrong way of teaching, I am givingthem the correct one."

I will keep in touch with you and send the pictures when I get them.

Loving regards from all the students,

Teacher Sr Arul Mary Holy Cross Convent Bangalore-560068 India

Workplace Testimonials


"An educated choice"


Eric Rives, a big, burly Californian from Manteca in the verdant San Joaquin Valley, is a long way from his roots in dusty Tom Price in the Pilbara where he is working on the Community Development Employment Project (CDEP).

In fact, Eric first came to Tom Price as a site manager for a major building contract at Pilbara Iron.

Says Eric, "Managing the project I noticed that we were unable to retain Indigenous labor. Many of our Aboriginal workers could scarcely read the safety notices, which meant they were putting themselves and other people in danger. What was worse, some people were dismissive and disrespectful towards them, implying it was their own fault. So, on the basis that you can"t blame them if you don't train them, I began to get interested in Aboriginal education."

That is how Eric came to be working on and facilitating Elect Education's, "The Sound Way to Reading, Writing, and Spelling" program - a literacy program being piloted by Pilbara Iron together with CDEP.

Using an integrated spelling, writing and reading course comprising both teaching DVDs and well laid out manuals, Eric is facilitating a workshop at the Tom Price CDEP.

The classroom, with about 25 students ranging from teenagers to some who are middle-aged, pulses with energy. Susan is writing a sentence from the workbook."I love the way I make my letter b", she says.

Alma, a 54 year old Yindjibarndi woman says, "I left school at 13 and didn't get much learning in reading and writing. But this is way easier than it was at school."

Alma has been attending Elect Education’s, The Sound Way since its inception and is enthusiastic about the program’s benefits. “You don’t see Aboriginals in the high jobs,” she says seriously, “so we have to learn how to write and read and pronounce things properly.”

“That kind of positive attitude and motivation is very common in the program,” observes Eric.

“The Sound Way results so far have been really impressive. Eight out of 11 of our students have been accepted by Pilbara Iron and have sailed through their induction programmes. Now they are being trained on the job: bobcats; front end loaders; backhoes… you name it.”

Eric laughs. “I may be a long way from home, and certainly I could be earning far more if I went back to site management, but, doing what I’m doing here – I really get a buzz. I think I’ve found my niche.”

The Sound Way
Elect Education

Pilbara Iron

Eric Rives Indigenous Testimonial - Tom Price

I presented The Sound Way program to 25 indigenous Australians on behalf of Pilbara Iron (Rio Tinto) at Tom Price in the northwest of Western Australia. Participants ages ranged from 16 years to 54 years. You can see below that I have completed the final scoring as requested.

I would like to mention that this program has been a great pleasure to present in itself; not to mention the satisfaction one gets from not only helping others, but also seeing them progress so quickly. Several of the students have commented on how easy the classes have been to learn and wished it had been available to them earlier in their lives. Many have said they would like it to be available to their families.

One can easily see from the Score Sheet below, the success of this class. Some students improved up to 5 years in their reading ability in just six weeks. The average overall student improvement was 3.5 years in six weeks.


The Sound Way program has given them self-esteem, pride, motivation, courage, and the confidence to seek employment. They have also commented on how nice it is for them to be able to do simple things that you and I may take for granted, such as being able to read the news paper, or read notes or flyers sent home with their children from school.

As you can see in the Score Sheet above, there were only a few students that didn’t finish the course for varying reasons, and some that scored much higher than others. I feel this was due to the level of effort they themselves put in. I strongly believe that the class was a huge overall success.

Yours faithfully,
Eric Rives
See article as reported in Rio Tinto magazine:

Indigenous Testimonials


To whom it may concern,I am writing this letter to anyone who may be in a position to help give our kids a real chance to succeed in life. I have been a teacher, Principal and Vocational Education Trainer for 20 years, working with indigenous students from around the Northern Territory and the Tiwi Islands in particular.

At Nguiu on the Tiwi Islands, we have almost exclusively based our educational curriculum on the whole language concept for the past 20 years with devastating results. For twenty years we have been delivering 80% illiterate students into the Tiwi work force which has resulted in high levels of unemployment in an economic climate where there are real employment opportunities.

This surely can not be acceptable or possible in the year 2007. Yet it remains so.

Teaching people to read and write is not brain surgery. It is possible and it is achievable in a relatively short space of time. The Sound Way program is THE answer.

As co-principal of Xavier Community Education Centre in 2003 we implemented The Sound Way program. Within three months we had 15 year old students who were unable to literally spell ‘cat' able to read and write at a higher level than ever thought possible. We had students who could read only 20 out of 200 words all of a sudden able to read 150 words.

The pride, the self esteem and the willingness to start to explore career options were all born from the knowledge that they really can learn to read.

Make no mistake The Sound Way is THE answer. All we need is the people in positions of responsibility to take it on board, have a look at what it can do and get it into the schools.

It is as clear to me as the day is long that this is the program that can and will change the face of indigenous education and communities Australia wide.

Please don't muck around any longer. No more arguing about the merits of Whole Language and phonics. Too many lives have literally already been lost . There are real opportunities in many indigenous communities and The Sound Way WILL give indigenous people the tools, the confidence and the power to access these opportunities.

Yours sincerely,
Brian Clancy Manager,
Tiwi Islands Training and Employment Board,
Bathurst Island,
NT 0822

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