Fun with Phonics at The Bridge

Elspeth Dugdale | August 2, 2015

Fun with Phonics at The Bridge
Jody and Rachel leading through the first phonics session.

Phonics Specialist Jody Unterrheiner, based in Gulu, Northern Uganda, came to The Bridge for 3 days in July to run a series of training workshops for primary teachers in Lukomera. In preparation for this, Deborah, Manager of The Bridge, had sent invitations to all schools that link into The Bridge.The result of her great PR campaign in the school community was a total of 50 teachers from 12 local schools. 

In fact, Stella and the other teachers from The Bridge have already been teaching using phonics for quite a while, with materials supplied by UK friends and colleagues. But Jody has specifically written and designed a Ugandan focussed programme which children will easily remember - a-a-a-ant; d-d-d-drum, g-g-g-goat, m-m-m maize!


Using visuals, singing and specific 'phonics' actions to reinforce the phonics learning, Jody and intern assistant, Rachel Buchanan, delivered each session with fabulous vitality and energy. The interactive style and group participation was a clear winning formula for the listeners - and as the sessions progressed the singing got louder and increasingly enthusiastic. We heard that the teachers went straight back into school the following Monday to put the new phonics sessions into practise and to pass on the training to their colleagues. The feedback from the teachers and their Headteachers has been incredibly positive and they are already counting the days to Jody's next visit and follow up sessions.

Over the last 2+ years we have realised that another valuable role of The Bridge is for quality teacher training and also as a common ground between  a range of local schools that do not usually work well together. At the end The Bridge teachers, Deborah, Stella and Brenda led the teachers in a celebration thank you dance for the training team.

 A great way to end the week!  Watch the salamander dance here -