This article reports the evaluation of a 10-week phonologically-based literacy programme involving 10 children with Down syndrome (DS). At the outset, each child relied on a whole word method of reading with no apparent use of decoding strategies. The reading and phonological skills of the children were assessed twice prior to undertaking the training (baseline), at the end of training and after three months. The literacy programme targeted phonological skills at the onset-rime level, alphabet work, word analysis and whole word reading within the context of reading books. The results showed a significant improvement in word reading skill and alphabet knowledge for the group, with 4 children developing a decoding strategy for the reading of unfamiliar words. Reading progress was maintained for the majority of children three months after the training programme had finished. Thus, a teaching programme incorporating phonological word analysis can be beneficial to individuals with DS but there is considerable variability in response.