Biff and Chip · decodable readers · Oxford Reading Tree

Biff and Chips to go? Oh no!

There’s been a lot of adverse criticism recently of the Oxford Reading Tree series, featuring Biff, Chip et al, and teachers often ask me on Sounds-Write courses if they shouldn’t just throw them all out because they do not conform to what most people recognise as decodable readers. The answer, of course, is absolutely not!… Continue reading Biff and Chips to go? Oh no!

Daily Telegraph · Dianne Murphy

Murphy’s law re-stated

What was Christopher Middleton at the Telegraph thinking when he called what Dianne Murphy is doing a ‘literacy revolution’? He evidently has never read Marx’s 18th Brumaire of Louise Napoleon, which, prompted Marx to remark famously that history repeats itself, ‘first as tragedy, then as farce’. Far from being a revolution, this kind of methodology… Continue reading Murphy’s law re-stated

'ghoti' · The Spectator · Tom Burkard

Why ‘ghoti’ is a red herring

In my last posting, I wrote that Rod Liddle’s invocation of ‘ghoti’ as a way of spelling ‘fish’ – ostensibly to demonstrate how ‘unphonetic’ (ridiculous term!) English is – was nonsensical. I also wrote that the notion had been entirely discredited. Well, apparently not! Some of my readers have informed me that they are confronted… Continue reading Why ‘ghoti’ is a red herring

phonics · Rod Liddle · The Spectator

A Liddle knowledge is a dangerous thing!

I quite like Rod Liddle’s column every week in the Spectator. He usually makes me laugh. Sometimes out loud! This week began as no exception. In ‘My daughter’s end-of-term report confirms that she is being taught by alien reptiles‘, he got the ball rolling by deprecating the ‘vacuous propaganda’ emitted by teacher training institutions before… Continue reading A Liddle knowledge is a dangerous thing!

'Time-limited' teaching of phonics · non-words · Warwick Mansell

Alas poor Warwick!

Sadly, Warwick Mansell’s piece in Monday’s Guardian rehearses all those old chestnuts about phonics teaching that have been discredited time without end. Although it makes some pretence at balance, it is shot through with the kind of ignorance about what phonics teaching is that one would normally find in the TES. Mansell tell us that… Continue reading Alas poor Warwick!