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How to teach spelling… the story continues

Well, how do you teach spelling? And, what do you do when the DfE gives you an apparently random list of statutory spellings for you to teach? Well, you teach them, I guess! What else are you supposed to do? But how exactly do you go about teaching your students to spell words like ‘height’,… Continue reading How to teach spelling… the story continues

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On the teaching of conceptual understanding: from Vivian Paley

I’ve been thinking about something Vivian Paley once wrote in her book Wally’s Stories Conversations in the Kindergarten. She said, ‘The adult should not underestimate the young child’s tendency to revert to earlier thinking: new concepts have not been ‘learned’ but are only in temporary custody. They have been glimpsed but are not in permanent… Continue reading On the teaching of conceptual understanding: from Vivian Paley

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Mini whiteboards, major outcomes!

  People have been asking me recently about the new Reading Framework’s guidance on teaching phonics and specifically on the use of mini-whiteboards. The guidance states that ’… sitting on the floor and writing on a mini-whiteboard does not help children learn to hold a pencil and form letters correctly. To write, they should sit… Continue reading Mini whiteboards, major outcomes!

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More on ‘This and that’

Phonemes and graphemes or sounds and spellings: it depends on the context. Yesterday, I published ‘This and that’, a short blog post on the importance of maintaining consistency in the language we use when training teachers in how to teach phonics and teaching children phonics. After publishing, another example of the way in which we… Continue reading More on ‘This and that’

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Sounds or letter names? An update

This post has been written as a quick response to a debate on Twitter about whether teachers should be teaching letter names or sounds or both to young children just embarking on learning to read and spell Until young children (Reception/Y1) are secure with sounds – i.e, they understand that letters are representations of sounds… Continue reading Sounds or letter names? An update

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Teaching phonics: whole class or small group?

Making the decision whether to teach phonics ‘whole-class’ or in small groups can be a difficult one but, in this post, I want to make the case for whole-class teaching. It’s pretty obvious that if you’re a teacher of a class combining different years, you will almost certainly want to ‘set’ them and, in this… Continue reading Teaching phonics: whole class or small group?