Why, at Sounds-Write, do we begin our teaching with word-building? There are three main reasons: we are teaching children that spellings stand for sounds in the language; we are teaching them specifically which particular spellings stand for the particular sounds in the words we are going to be using; and, we are teaching the skill… Continue reading Why do we emphasise segmenting skills more than blending in learning to read and write?
I’ve just been reading ‘Learning to Read: A Primer | Part 1‘. It’s the latest in a long line of publications attempting to clarify for teachers and others what the nature of the task is in the teaching of reading and writing. There are in the document lots of things with which to agree and… Continue reading Sorting out some of the confusion in ‘Learning to Read: A primer | Part 1’
Just over a week ago on the Today programme ( 22/10/18), the BBC ran a piece on an up-and-coming rugby union star (Christian Wade) in England who has decided to pull up stakes and try his hand at American Football. Presumably, because they couldn’t interview the man himself, they spoke instead to someone… Continue reading The Switch
Just a few weeks ago I listened to a programme on Radio 4 in which British evolutionary biologist and ornithologist professor Tim Birkhead from the University of Sheffield talked about a mystery which has fascinated him for the past six years. The mystery? Explaining why guillemot eggs are shaped the way they are. [He’s a… Continue reading Some eggsellent advice from scientist Tim Birkhead
This post is a reprise of a post I wrote in February 2016. As its subject matter seems to crop up all the time in discussions about phonics teaching, I thought it would be helpful to re-post it. What do people mean when they talk about ‘regular’ and ‘irregular’ spellings? ‘Regular’, as the dictionary definition… Continue reading The ill-conceived idea of ‘regular’ and ‘irregular’ spelling – a reprise
Whether you’re a religious person or not, the gospel according to St Matthew is a veritable treasure trove of useful stories and proverbs that provide useful analogies to the process of learning to read. Keith Stanovich was inspired by Matthew Chapter 25, v 20 to call one of his most quoted papers on the… Continue reading Laying the foundations for literacy
While there has been much interest in cognitive load theory (CLT) – Dylan Wiliam, quoted in Greg Ashman’s blog Filling the pail, says he thinks it is ‘the single most important thing for a teacher to know’ – very little has been written that specifically address early years teaching. One aspect of CLT discussed by… Continue reading Cognitive load theory, element interactivity and phonics teaching
Following on from my last post, here, after three years of Sounds-Write, are the results from St George’s CEPS at the end of Year 2. As before, if you look at the table, which I have anonymised, you can see that 30 children in Year 2 (the end of their third year of schooling) did… Continue reading A Class Act, Scene 2, Year 2
There has been much talk recently about how successful various approaches to the teaching of reading are. At Sounds-Write, we encourage schools using our programme to give their pupils a spelling test. The reason for this is that spelling is highly likely to give a much more accurate picture of a pupil’s literacy than… Continue reading A class act – St George’s Church of England Primary School.
Having been round the literacy block a few times, I did permit myself a smile when I read the title of the paper by Anne Castles et al ‘Ending the Reading Wars: Reading Acquisition from Novice to Expert.’ Good luck with that, I thought. And, sure enough, who should pop up with an anti-phonics/anti-Phonics Screening… Continue reading Exploding myths – imploding arguments