The Phonic Engine Reading Method was developed by Steve Siegel, founder of Innovism Software, in 1994. The following paragraphs are from the Introduction to the first Phonic Engine Method Patent, which has been incorporated into KidsVoyager Online which, in turn, has helped children make rather impressive gains across the entire spectrum of literacy skills; in a relatively short time, and where other methodologies have not helped:
"The present invention is embodied in a method and apparatus that enables young, pre-reading children to use components of written, phonetic or phonemic representations of language for communication. It may be implemented in software, as a mechanical device, as a dedicated electronic device, or as a combination of the three.
The apparatus (hereafter referred to as the "Phonic Engine") allows children (and other users) to convert their minimal phonological knowledge into written language or make selections of items represented by words using only minimal language components. The inventor has discovered that the following two concepts can be effectively paired/combined to provide an unexpected result:
(1) Phonetic/phonemic knowledge of initial and final sounds are among the first bits of language knowledge acquired; and
(2) Two bits of orthographic or phonological information about a word or group of words provides sufficient information to select a perusable set of entries containing that word or group of words, from a suitable larger set of entries. That is, early pre-reading phonic knowledge or basic orthographic knowledge may be mapped to criteria which are then converted into a word or group of words, such as a title.
For example, a 5000 entry children's software dictionary, encyclopedia, or other work may be used (hereafter referred to as "the database"). It is assumed that there are approximately 44 phonemes included in the words in the database (corresponding to the number of phonemes in the English language). For purposes of estimation, it is further assumed that initial and final phonemes are randomly distributed among the entry headings. (A database having this characteristic could be built intentionally.) For this example, specifying initial and final phonemes narrows down the 5000 entries to (5000/44)/44 ≅ 2.58 (mean average). If these entries are then presented via spoken words and/or pictures, a child can easily select the one that he or she intends to select."
In 2006, Steve Siegel and Laura Reisler, of Park Slope Speech Therapy, serving Brooklyn, NY for over 20 years, started Park Slope Communication Center (PSCC), which provides Phonic Engine® Reading Method based literacy services, in addition to traditional Speech and Language Therapy. The staff of PSCC, who utilize KidsVoyager Online on a daily basis, are the same staff who provide support and consultation to KidsVoyager Online members.