High frequency words · Letters and Sounds · Sounds-Write

High frequency words

On our Sounds-Write courses, I’ve noticed that an increasing number of practitioners working in schools teaching phonics seem to believe that the three hundred high-frequency words included in the Letters and Sounds manual should be taught as ‘sight words’. What is the answer to this? First, we think it’s a bad idea to teach ‘sight… Continue reading High frequency words

literacy · Shep Barbash · Sig Engelmann · Sir Michael Marmot

Poor children lagging behind ‘on a grand scale’!

Figures released by Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Director of University College London, Institute of Health Equity, on Wednesday in the Telegraph revealed that four out of ten children are failing to reach the basic skills level expected of a five-year-old. As reported, Sir Michael pointed out that ‘Britain lags behind other countries including Poland, Hungary, Denmark… Continue reading Poor children lagging behind ‘on a grand scale’!

Clear Teaching: With Direct instruction · Englemann · Shephard Barbash

Clear teaching, Part II

Chapter I: Radical Optimist The creator of the ‘Direct Instruction’ is Sig Engelmann and it’s not for nothing that Chapter I of Barbash’s book is titled ‘Radical Optimist’. In it, he describes Englemann as believing ‘that the mind of every child, even the least impressive, is an incredible thinking machine gifted with extraordinary powers’ (p.9).… Continue reading Clear teaching, Part II

Clear Teaching: With Direct instruction · Engelmann · RRF · Shephard Barbash · Yvonne Meyer

Clear teaching, Part I

A short while ago, Yvonne Meyer posted on the Reading Reform Foundation to a downloadable book on direct teaching, called Clear Teaching, With Direct instruction, Siegfried Englemann discovered a better way of teaching by Shephard Barbash. The posting has generated some discussion, which you can read here. Nevertheless, I thought I’d add my thoughts on theliteracyblog… Continue reading Clear teaching, Part I

Digby Jones · Ofsted · Sir Michael Wilshaw

Will Michael Wilshaw? He sure will!

I’ve long been thinking that radical and fundamental change in education will only happen in the UK when our economy is so seriously threatened by the likes of China, India, Singapore, South Korea, and the like, that the ‘powers that be’ would be forced to take corrective action. Indeed, five years ago Digby Jones, then head of… Continue reading Will Michael Wilshaw? He sure will!

Ann Keane · BBC news · David Reynolds · Leighton Andrews · the Economist · The Telegraph

Welsh education – ‘producerism’s last hurrah’!

This week’s TES is reporting that the chief inspector of Estyn (the Welsh equivalent of Ofsted) Ann Keane has just published a report claiming that 40% of pupils starting secondary school in Wales do so with a reading age of six months below their chronological age. What I would like to know is how she… Continue reading Welsh education – ‘producerism’s last hurrah’!

'Time-limited' teaching of phonics · Christine Blower · match-funding · New reading test · Russell Hobby

More on the take-up of match funding

An article titled ‘Sounds like this phonics scheme has started badly’ in the TES today by Helen Ward provides some decidedly revealing insights into what is going wrong in getting schools to take up match funding for phonics.As the piece points out, match funding isn’t ‘free’ money. For every pound provided by the government, the… Continue reading More on the take-up of match funding