Just over thirty years ago, Isabel K. Beck and Connie Juel wrote the excellent research article ‘The Role of Decoding in Learning to Read’*. Apart from their succinct and entirely accurate description of what a symbolic system or a code is, they provided us with a simple model or span of decoding and where, on… Continue reading Word identification, word recognition, sight word recognition and word attack – all synonyms for decoding
On our training and on our Facebook page for educational professionals who have already trained, I am asked all the time about the spellings < q > and < u > in words like ‘quick’, ‘quit’, and ‘squid’. The problem arises because < q > and < u > co-occur so frequently in English and… Continue reading Questions about < q > and < u >: a quandary?
One of the most common problems I’m asked to address is that of ‘blending’. “What can I do,” ask teachers, “when two or three of my students don’t seem to be able to ‘get’ it?” Blending is the ability to push sounds together to make recognisable words and, in young children learning to read and… Continue reading Can’t blend, won’t blend – a reprise
Following on from my last post, I want to make the point and to keep on making the point that it doesn’t matter if a student is six, sixteen or sixty: if they can’t read and write, there are certain fundamentals they need to learn to begin with. Furthermore, this is especially true if the… Continue reading Base camp
After my last post, ‘How to teach spelling…’, let’s look at the detail of what students from Year 2 and above need to know in terms of phonic knowledge. We’re working with a large MAT introducing Sounds-Write in their secondary schools and so I’ve been looking in detail at some of the texts students will… Continue reading Reading… the tsunami
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
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
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!
Frankly, I thought that the notion of ‘silent letters’ had gone out with the Ark. Evidently not! What still doesn’t seem to be understood by some advocates of phonics is that all letters are silent! All letters are silent because letters, singly or in combination, are symbols for the sounds in speech. Speech is biologically… Continue reading Shh Silent letters at work – again!
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’