An alternative to scripted teaching

Direct Instruction, the umbrella under which scripted teaching sits, is set up as the antidote to Discovery Learning, the Traditional answer to Progressivism, the Behaviourist reply to Constructivism. What one side has done for the word “phonics”, the other has done for the word “script” but, at the risk of coming across all 1990s, there is a Third Way and we’ve been walking that alternative path with all sorts of educators for many successful years. I think we’ll call it … Read More

Teaching Assistants & Literacy Support

Many schools use non teaching staff to help pupils with their reading, but they need the right tools, training and ongoing support to make a significant impact. The Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF) has created this list for improving the use of learning support assistants. As they point out, the staff are already in the school and in the budget, so the next decision is to find an evidence based literacy intervention which is both affordable and suitable for non teaching … Read More

b/d Reversal

The tendency to reverse b and d is a huge embarrassment for older students who struggle to get the mirror image letters straight. On dyslexia discussion boards, the question keeps coming up, “How do we help our dyslexic students stop reversing b and d?” Letter and number reversal is something that tripped me up for years and I have evidence still in a scrapbook which I started at the age of 6 or 7. (Apologies to middle aged Canadians who … Read More

Spelling words with ough

This is a slightly modified excerpt from That Spelling Thing, a book of spelling strategies for the classroom, offering an alternative to look/say/cover/write/check. It’s written for teachers of any subject from middle primary to adult education and doesn’t require any literacy expertise. However, I’m assured there’s lots of content for teachers who are already teaching spelling. The book is due for publication in January. Bundling by tricky code <ough> isn’t a common grapheme but it occurs in very common words … Read More

Improved literacy is life-changing

Our strapline is “for people who don’t think they can”. Here’s what we mean. In Ireland and was told he was dyslexic; in England he was told he had a learning disability; teachers found him difficult; college tutors treated him as stupid. Look what That Reading Thing can do. This is from Stef Boyle, our TRT Wonder Woman from Port Reach. Nineteen year old N was referred to me by a training agency saying that he could read a bit, … Read More

The added value of youth workers

That Reading Thing came into being because of young people I met through youth work. It was originally a youth work tool and used mostly by youth workers and volunteers trained to work in youth projects. They did such a spectacular job that schools took notice because their furthest out students were beginning to come to class on time, in uniform and able to engage. Over the years, That Reading Thing has become a tool used by schools as much … Read More

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