Teaching handwriting, reading and spelling skills, or Thrass for short, is an innovative phonics programme being introduced in South African public and private schools to enhance literacy development.
Thrass, which is being pioneered by British educational psychologist Alan Davies, is sponsored by Absa, a member of the Barclays Group, as part of its wider corporate social investment and responsibility role.
Absa has made Thrass a part of the bank's Talk Together Project.
Like the phonics programme, this project seeks to encourage cooperation among different people, groups and organisations in the education and training sector to enhance the quality of learning and teaching.
Thrass is primarily aimed at English.
It will be achieved by partnering universities, primary schools and other organisations.
It will also provide a platform to celebrate South Africa's eleven official languages, through free interactive software and printable calendar charts.
Davies said Thrass offers a highly-interactive approach to English.
It is already being used by teachers, parents, educational psychologists and speech and language therapists in thousands of schools in Africa, the UK, Europe and the Caribbean.
Added to teaching handwriting, reading and spelling to pupils of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, Thrass also teaches lifelong word-solving skills for their own and other languages.
So far, said Davies, more than 3500 teachers in South Africa have been awarded the Thrass accredited certificate, largely by successfully completing a two-day course.
l Absa, together with Sowetan, is a lead partner in the annual Early Childhood Development Awards.
Other partners include the South African Congress for Early Childhood Development, the Office of the Rights of the Child in the Presidency and the national Education Department. - Victor Mecoamere