In the year’s last issue of the Sunday Times, Minette Marrin has some timely advice for us. Did I say, ‘for us’? I meant ‘on our behalf’. It addresses a number of important issues – get out of Afghanistan and Iraq – and a variety of people: to Peter Mandelson – ‘Stop talking’; to Harriet Harman ‘Shut up’; and so on.
But it was her advice to primary school teachers that particularly caught my eye. Amongst her recommendations, she counsels:
Stop worrying about everything except one thing – do you know how to teach children to read? Were you taught how to? Can all the children in your class read (after age seven) and if not, why not? Forget all the other stuff that’s imposed on you.
She might also have asked whether or not they could also teach basic numeracy. No matter! The most important job the primary school should do is to teach children to read. If they haven’t done that, they’ve failed.
If you are a teacher or a parent and you want to learn how to teach a child to read, do a course with Sounds-Write, or with Fiona Nevola’s Sound Reading System.