Sunday, April 21, 2024

Philadelphia Magic Sounds Reading Program.

May 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Education, News, Weekly Columns

( Elementary school teachers are exceptional educators and motivators. Their task is to stimulate inspire and encourage young minds in the joy of learning and prepare them for the rigors of things to come. Miss Barbara Jackson was an elementary school teacher who taught first grade in the Philadelphia school district for over thirty years. During that time she enjoyed interacting with young children discovering and figuring out ways to make learning fun and easy for her students.

She attended and graduated from Cheyney State Teachers College where she was trained to teach the basics of reading, mathematics and civics. She favored the phonics approach to teaching reading because her methods instructor at Cheyney emphasized phonics and encouraged her to use it to teach reading.

When she began her teaching career, phonics was the standard method but subsequently the Philadelphia School District switched to the sight word approach.  She found her students were not doing as well using that method. Being a true teacher who wanted her students to succeed, she went back to teaching phonics. “I was about ten years into teaching, I was seeing the children weren’t grasping reading the way I thought they should so I tried all kinds of ways to get them to do better. I developed magic sounds, I was already teaching phonics but this was an easier way than the traditional phonics. One day I sat down and wrote it out I showed it to a friend of mine and he couldn’t believe it.”

She saw her students responded well to the program and over the years she  modified it to suit the skills and personalities of her classes. After a while she realized she had created an innovative reading program which she called Magic Sounds. Being an astute teacher, she recognized the children liked repeating the vowel sounds coupled with consonants to make up words or parts of words. She discovered her technique made reading easier for her students.

She caught flack from some of her principals but remained steadfast and persistent in her belief that phonics was the better reading teaching method. Plus school administrators couldn’t really discipline her because her students always outperformed the other first grade classes in the school.

Miss Jackson wanted to share the program with other teachers, parents and the public so she went into a professional recording studio, recorded the lessons then used her notes and lesson plans to create a workbook to accompany the audio lessons. As time passed Miss Jackie, as her students called her, was forced to keep up with the technology. At first she used vinyl records. When cassette tapes came out she created cassette tapes for her lessons, then DVD’s and later memory sticks. Now she is working on an animated program and workbook.

Though retired she still tutors students one on one occasionally and she keeps busy refining and reworking her reading program she calls Magic Sounds. She has expanded to offer a few additional learning products. She is proud of the reading program and the success it has had helping students of all ages learn to read using phonics. “You can use the program to teach toddlers and babies to read. If the mother watches the DVD and becomes familiar with the sounds then she can teach her baby. The child will learn very fast and efficiently because phonics is a natural way to learn to read because that is the way children learn to speak. In the first year babies babble, they say da,da, dada and ba,ba and baba; these are the short sounds. They don’t say mama or mommy until later.

In all the years I’ve been doing this I’ve never had one program returned.” She declared proudly.

With much of education in crisis especially in urban areas, with dwindling resources, widening achievement gaps and an emphasis on test score results, a program like Magic Sounds is a medium parents, teachers, mentors and educational advocates can get behind and support.

Miss Jackie spends much of her time filling orders for the program and shipping them out of her home. “I do most of the work myself I don’t have a large staff. I used to have a friend who served as a salesman but he died.” She has created a Website, and she sells her programs Online. The cost is $20 which includes shipping and handling. For more information about Magic Sounds reading made easy, you can E-mail her at or call (215) 849-5543.

ps, you can listen to my podcast interview with Barbara Jackson at

Columnist; Junious Ricardo Stanton

Official website;

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