Last week I criticised the reporting in the TES of the government-commissioned Tickell report for its zeal in attempting to discredit phonics as an approach to teaching young children to read. The latest offering from the TES (Friday 8th April) is more subtle in its disingenuousness. It plays cleverly on what it senses – I… Continue reading Embedded phonics? What embedded phonics?
At the end of my latest Sounds-Write course this week, Samantha Rushforth-Willoughby from Stone Church of England School in Aylesbury, came up to me and said: “I feel as though someone has just handed me a pot of gold.” As the training had been spread over four weeks, Sam had had the opportunity to put… Continue reading A pot of gold!
Despite the lame excuses of Michael Welsh yesterday on Radio 4 and Dr Bethan Marshall today in the Telegraph, there are plenty of examples of schools situated in poor areas having huge success in teaching all children -that’s boys as well as girls! – to read and spell. Michael Gove says that the Coalition is… Continue reading No excuses! All children can learn to read and spell
So Ofsted’s chief inspector for schools Christine Gilbert has suddenly come to the conclusion that failure to teach children to read and spell is not to do with poverty or ethnic background. It’s because they are not being taught properly!The Sunday Times today (14.11.10) has reported Ms Gilbert as saying that progress in ‘improving literacy… Continue reading Illiteracy: another admission of failure
This week’s New Scientist (October 2nd 2010) is carrying an interesting piece entitled ‘Supercharge Your Brain’ but it’s also the introductory editorial ‘From neuromyth to reality’ that has much to commend it.Firstly, I can’t resist including the remark once made by John Maynard Keynes quoted at the beginning of the editorial. He is recorded as… Continue reading The New Scientist on neuroscience and education
I haven’t written anything about the actual practice of teaching reading and spelling for some time now so I thought I’d add something about one of the children I’m teaching at the moment. The pupil is a boy of seven who is about to start Y3. When he left reception, he couldn’t read at all… Continue reading Teaching Freddy to read
I’m just re-reading Rudolph Flesch’s Why Johnny Can’t Read (1955) and reminding myself why it is still after all this time such a fantastic book. Flesch wrote it because of the failure of the school system in the USA to teach so many children to read and spell. Reading, Flesch insisted, was not being taught… Continue reading Why Johnny will never learn to read if teachers aren’t properly trained!
Yesterday (24/02/10) BBC news and The Scotsman reported the appalling statistics from a Scottish government report on the number of children failing to achieve ‘expected standards’ in writing. The figure is a stunning 66%. The figure for reading – 60% failing to reach ‘expected standards’ – is nearly as bad.Meanwhile, the Scottish education secretary, Michael… Continue reading Report finds two thirds of Scottish children can’t write
Why are Letters and Sounds manuals already gathering dust on the shelves of the staff and resources rooms in so many schools? Admittedly L&S is an improvement on some of the rubbish the government has allowed to go out in its name previously – remember the ALS? – but it’s still a very long way… Continue reading Why Letters and Sounds doesn’t work
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… Continue reading Above all, do no harm. And, if you are a primary teacher, teach the children to read!