The POPS Reading Scheme for Children with Down Syndrome

The POPS Reading Scheme makes a child with a developmental disability visible in school literature. Kal, who has Down syndrome, together with his siblings are featured in story lines about everyday events; whether offering Mum the never-ending challenges of keeping the mess at bay, amusing naughty children on rainy days (and other days), or trying to get to school on time. The topics are understandable and relevant to the child’s experiences, allowing them to make connections to what is happening in their own life.

The reading scheme was first launched in 2005, with a major update in 2017. Our new apps were introduced in 2019. The scheme is constantly evolving thanks to the support of a highly dedicated team of educational professionals and parents. We are grateful for the input of Professor Sue Buckley OBE and Dr. Gillian Bird from Down Syndrome Educational International in the development of the programme.

Reading Strengths of Children with Down Syndrome
The reading scheme supports children with Down syndrome who are strong visual/kinaesthetic learners with clear uncluttered illustrations and large easy to read text. Every book has a set of Word Cards (Flash Cards) to play lotto, reading comprehension and sentence completion games and to use in “Name, Match and Select”activities. Teaching games that use matching, selecting and naming activities offer a very effective and engaging approach to teach new words and concepts.

Clever Consolidation and Repetition Captivates Children’s Interest
High frequency words and everyday topic words are revisited frequently in text and games in every book, without being obviously repetitive. The story lines in the books build a child’s vocabulary, by introducing new words gradually in a range of contexts to reinforce their meaning. The stories equip the child with function words for use in general day to day communication. The language is learned because it is experienced repeatedly in situations where the child can SEE WHAT YOU MEAN. Research has shown that this multi-sensory approach is very effective at building up working memory through repetition.

Speech and Language Therapy
The POPS Reading Scheme has been developed in conjunction with Speech and Language Therapists to ensure it targets the vocabulary a child will need in their everyday life, based on the order in which children acquire certain words and the ability of the child to pronounce the words.

Every book contains scripted Language Development Techniques unique to the story line. Designed by Speech and Language Therapists they support the development of a child’s communication skills, help the child to comprehend the “meaning” in the story, promote conversation and improve memory and retention skills.

Our schools downloads contain all the POPS characters for use with Clicker.