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Reading: from working memory into long-term memory

  This post is the third of four, where I share with you the presentation I gave at the recent ResearchEd conference in Auckland, New Zealand. When teaching children to read and write in English, as teachers, our problem lies in devising efficient instructional procedures for teaching the complexities of the English alphabet code, and… Continue reading Reading: from working memory into long-term memory

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Learning to read: primary and secondary knowledge

Linguistic phonics makes the relatively complex English alphabetic system simple. The approach teaches from sound to print: in other words, it starts from what all children learn naturally – the sounds of their own language. This is what cognitive psychologists call biologically primary knowledge. John Sweller, Professor Emeritus at the University of New South Wales,… Continue reading Learning to read: primary and secondary knowledge

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The 2017 South Australia Phonics Screening Check (Part II)

Following on from yesterday’s post and some broader observations about the South Australia Phonics Screening Check, I want now to look at the detail of the Check. I’m not going to go into the issue some people have with pseudo or nonsense words. The rationale for using pseudo words has been explained many times before.… Continue reading The 2017 South Australia Phonics Screening Check (Part II)

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The 2017 South Australia Phonics Screening Check

So, after much kerfuffle and a huge amount of opposition from a wide range of (mainly) university academics, the teaching unions, and assorted self-proclaimed pundits, South Australia has just reported the results of an opt-in version of the Phonics Screening Check. It was taken between 7th and 18th August 2017 and it was exactly the… Continue reading The 2017 South Australia Phonics Screening Check

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Decodable readers, systematicity and practice

Guest post from James Lyra Recently on the various Dyslexia Support pages, there have been many questions about ‘decodable’ books. Here is my take on the topic. Technically, every written word in the English language is decodable, because every written word is a symbolic representation of the spoken word i.e. letters are symbols (created by us… Continue reading Decodable readers, systematicity and practice

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Why we should be using but not teaching nonsense words

  Nonsense words are, by definition, words a child will never have seen before. Because children won’t have been exposed to them, they won’t be able to use their visual memories to read them. As a matter of fact, educational psychologists have long been aware of this and have used nonsense words as part of… Continue reading Why we should be using but not teaching nonsense words

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In memory of Dave Philpot, co-founder of Sounds-Write

  David and I first met almost twenty years ago, by which time, he’d been working as an educational psychologist for Wigan Council for more than twenty years. What brought us together was our mutual commitment to teaching children to read. During his career, David realised that the problem behind many of the things that… Continue reading In memory of Dave Philpot, co-founder of Sounds-Write