Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the common questions you may have about Crack the Code. If there is anything not covered here that you'd like to know, please click here to let us know
  • WHY DOES CRACK THE CODE CONCENTRATE SO HEAVILY ON MASTERING VOWEL SOUNDS?
  • WHICH STUDENTS IS CRACK THE CODE FOR?
  • CAN PARENTS USE CRACK THE CODE?
  • CAN CRACK THE CODE BE USED IN SCHOOLS OR ADAPTED FOR CLASSROOMS AS PART OF THEIR READING AND WRITING CURRICULUM?
  • DO I REALLY HAVE TO START AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CRACK THE CODE PROGRAM?
  • DO I HAVE TO COMPLETE THE WHOLE PROGRAM?
  • IS IT BETTER TO START USING THE CRACK THE CODE PROGRAM WITH ALL CHILDREN AS SOON AS THEY ENTER SCHOOL OR DO YOU ONLY WITH CHILDREN STRUGGLING WITH READING AND SPELLING?
  • FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE BEHIND AND STRUGGLING WITH READING AND WRITING AND WHO NEED MORE FOCUSED INTERVENTION, CAN THE PROGRAM BE USED WITH GROUPS OF CHILDREN OR IS ONE-ON-ONE BETTER?
WHY DOES CRACK THE CODE CONCENTRATE SO HEAVILY ON MASTERING VOWEL SOUNDS?

English is an unusual (some would say frustrating) language in that there are only five or six vowel letters in our alphabet but twenty (that’s right twenty!) vowel sounds that we use to communicate. It is therefore not surprising that students learning to read and write English will have most difficulty mastering vowels – especially those students struggling to acquire effective literacy skills.

WHICH STUDENTS IS CRACK THE CODE FOR?

Crack The Code can be used to teach any child of any age (starting at 5 – 6 years of age) to read and write but is especially effective for students who struggle to learn and apply phonic skills to reading and writing (about 25-30 per cent of all children). The younger the child when you start, the better the literacy outcomes are likely to be.

CAN PARENTS USE CRACK THE CODE?

Parents can use Crack The Code if they are able to follow the instructions and do the lessons with their child. Be warned that sometimes a parent will have the same “phonic” difficulties as their child (many literacy difficulties have been inherited from one or both parents) and so may have difficulty doing the lessons at home with their child.

CAN CRACK THE CODE BE USED IN SCHOOLS OR ADAPTED FOR CLASSROOMS AS PART OF THEIR READING AND WRITING CURRICULUM?

Yes! Crack The Code techniques have already been successfully implemented into many schools across Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory with more to follow!

Whilst Crack The Code was not written for Year levels in schools, you can use the following as a rough guide (based on Queensland Year Levels) if implementing Crack The Code as part of a whole school literacy program. However, irrespective of age or year level, all students must start at the beginning of Crack The Code for it to be effective.

Prep: Part 1
Year 1: Part 1/Part 2
Year 2: Part 1/ Part 2/Part 3/Part 4
Year 3: Part 1/Part 2/ Part 3/Part 4/Part 5
Years 4 – 7: Big Words Program

However, keep in mind that this is a rough guide only and that as with any program you must always take individual student differences into account and ideally teach each student from where he/she is up to in the Crack The Code program.

DO I REALLY HAVE TO START AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CRACK THE CODE PROGRAM?

Yes! An absolutely essential part of the Crack The Code Program is the Short Vowel section (Part 1). I have worked with many High School students who still haven’t mastered short vowels! As such, no matter how old the student or what year/grade level at school he/she is in, you must always start at the beginning of the Crack The Code program.

DO I HAVE TO COMPLETE THE WHOLE PROGRAM?

No! For younger students (Year 1/Year 2) you may only have to do the first one or two parts of the Crack The Code program before the student is up with his/her peers in terms of literacy skills. For older students (Year 3/4), you may have to do Parts 1 – 5 and for older students you may have to do the whole program. That is why the younger you can identify and/or start a student on the Crack The Code program, the better the literacy outcomes will be for that child.

IS IT BETTER TO START USING THE CRACK THE CODE PROGRAM WITH ALL CHILDREN AS SOON AS THEY ENTER SCHOOL OR DO YOU ONLY WITH CHILDREN STRUGGLING WITH READING AND SPELLING?

Prevention is always better than cure. The program can be adapted to use with a whole class and indeed throughout the whole school. In one school I work at, the techniques and skills in the pages of this program are introduced in each Prep classroom (5-6 year olds) and continued throughout primary school until Year 7. Any students still having difficulty learning and applying the techniques of the program are withdrawn and given focused one-on-one intervention but still using the same skills and techniques of the program (Prep children are given one-on-one intervention too!) Parents of struggling children are also trained to use, teach and practice the skills and techniques of the program at home with their children – especially during the first two years of school. It is a model that works very well and the literacy results of all students throughout this particular primary school are very impressive and speak for themselves.

FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE BEHIND AND STRUGGLING WITH READING AND WRITING AND WHO NEED MORE FOCUSED INTERVENTION, CAN THE PROGRAM BE USED WITH GROUPS OF CHILDREN OR IS ONE-ON-ONE BETTER?

Even though in my experience schools tend to see children in groups for learning and literacy support at school (due to high numbers of students requiring support, time, money etc. etc.) I firmly believe that for students struggling with literacy one-on-one is best. The time spent with individual students does not have to be long (10-15 minutes with younger students). However, some students will need to spend more time on certain lessons than others. The intervention provided in this program will be most useful and beneficial for a student when it is focused and focused intervention is best provided one-on-one. Having said that, many schools have successfully implemented Crack the Code in their classrooms using small groups of struggling students (no more than four students per group).


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