Dynamic author Phyllis Herzog is a former Seattle School District special education teacher who now trains teachers all over the world how to use her well-regarded visual cueing system PhonicsQ to help students improve their reading and spelling skills.
Her experiences as a teacher for 25 years in self-contained and resource room classes in both public and private schools and as an individual tutor for children and adults were the catalyst for the development of PhonicsQ.
The program was developed in a Seattle School District K-5 Resource Room over three years with a culturally diverse group of special education students and ELL students.
Herzog received her B.S. and M.S. in Special Education at the University of Michigan and Hunter College respectively, and continued her education with Slingerland training, ELL courses and a practicum in the ELL program of the University of California at Berkeley.
Ruth Winter, illustrator of PhonicsQ, is a retired art and ELL teacher. She studied art, languages and education at the University of Oslo, Norway, the University of Washington and City University. She received her teaching degree from the University of Washington and Masters of Education degree from City University. Winter has taught high school art, reading and writing and formerly operated a school publishing center where she published over 2,000 books written by elementary school children. In 2014 she published a book called A CHARMED LIFE.
Phyllis Herzog is the type of teacher that many of us as parents can only dream about. She has the caring, individualized approach that many of our best teachers possess. However, Phyllis has taken that approach to the next level. Years of teaching experience and observation has enabled her to develop a special reading program that really works. PhonicsQ is both the name of the program and the name of her company.
Phyllis has always focused her own learning on special education-in college and beyond. She specializes in children’s learning disorders. As language and learning difficulties became more understood and accepted in the last 50 years, Phyllis and other teachers like her were able to benefit from the increase in methods and strategies developed to help struggling students. Most of these strategies (based on the works of Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham) were phonics-based. Even when classroom and reading teachers became enamored of the whole language/ sight word approach to reading, Phyllis and her colleagues used a systematic phonics approach to reading and spelling. However, Phyllis still found these specialized materials lacking. They continued to rely too heavily on text-based clues to help students read challenging words. She realized that students often learned the sounds of the alphabet through looking at pictures. Why not do the same thing with all of the letter combinations especially those pesky vowel combinations that make English seem crazy?
With the assistance of an art teacher, Phyllis helped the students choose pictures that best connected the sounds to letters. These 118 picture cues were printed on individual wall cards, portable student cueing sheets, and posters. She later created an audio for pronunciation-no matter what the students’ age and country of origin. “The most exciting and important part of the process was that the students became independent learners,” enthuses Phyllis.
Phyllis is delighted and satisfied that so many teachers and students of all ages have benefitted by the PhonicsQ materials.