The Self-Voice Technique - why is it so powerful?

The simple idea that most of us think in the sound of our own voice proved to be profound when coupled with the incentive to improve the literacy levels of learners with varying learning abilities.


The A.R.R.O.W. programme’s power technique lies in the effectiveness of utilising the self voice. It involves students recording themselves speaking, then listening back to the recording as they complete written exercises at their own ability level. But what is it about the self voice that proves to be so effective? Dr Colin Lane, the founder of the ARROW programme recognised through his one to one work with children in the 1970’s that there was a unique relationship between learners and their recorded voice. The simple idea that most of us think in the sound of our own voice proved to be profound when coupled with the incentive to improve the literacy levels of learners with varying learning abilities.


Psychologists widely acknowledge that when we listen to the sound of our own voices recorded back to us, it ‘accesses and reinforces the so called ‘internal’ self voice’, which is key to much language comprehension, and ultimately enhances cognitive processing. Most children learn much more efficiently by listening to themselves because of that irrefutable link between the sound of their own voice recording, and their internal voice, which is heard within the head and applied in memory tasks and internal thought.





Because listening is an auditory skill, there is strong evidence that suggests that many children and learners who have an intact hearing system, experience severe difficulty in listening to speech and maintaining that attention in the presence of background noise, which in turn has a negative effect on their learning abilities.

Undoubtedly, effective listening skills are instrumental in the comprehension and awareness of phonology (studying and patterning of speech sounds), and a student’s ability to maintain auditorial attention is detrimental to their reading and spelling abilities. Because listening is an auditory skill, there is strong evidence that suggests that many children and learners who have an intact hearing system, experience severe difficulty in listening to speech and maintaining that attention in the presence of background noise, which in turn has a negative effect on their learning abilities. However, listening is in itself a skill that can be trained.


In the book, Practical Strategies for Living with Dyslexia, author Chiver states ‘training in this area helps children to attend to the internal sounds of the words’ and the self voice technique is extensively effective in enhancing this much needed phonemic awareness, consequently leading to drastic improvements in the learner’s reading and spelling skills.





The Self Voice technique has been applied to thousands of students through the ARROW programme, in both the UK and Trinidad and Tobago and the effectiveness is undeniable, with studies and testimonials that show immense improvement in reading, spelling, dictation, speech and listening skills after just 8-10 hours of tuition.


It is also extremely helpful for students of all ages to utilise the self-voice technique as a tool for revision in any area of their work. Simply using a recording device to capture one’s voice, and listening back to it while studying a subject they may need to memorise can be extremely effective.


Find out more details about what the ARROW programme entails, here :



References for article are listed below.



Nugent, M. (2012) Proposal for ARROW training, Learn Journal.



Chivers, M. (2001). Practical Strategies for Living with Dyslexia. United Kingdom: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.


Nugent, M. (2012) ARROW: A New Tool in the Teaching of

Literacy: Report of Early Evaluation. REACH Journal of Special Needs Education in Ireland, Vol. 26 No. 1, 17-29.


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