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

Decodable text for teens and adults

We’re often asked what decodable readers we recommend and the answer is ‘none’. This is because the vast majority of TRT learners, even those who are working slowly through the *Foundation levels, are not beginning readers. They all come with some sight words so there’s no reason to limit those in text. They usually know all the basic alphabet sounds for both reading and writing and can work with multisyllabic words from the first lesson. That Reading Thing is structured … Read More

Phonics: when singer rhymes with finger

I love conversations about how people pronounce words differently and knew I was onto an entertaining twitter thread when I saw a few responses to this tweet. However, reading through the thread made me feel more and more depressed about how people view phonics.  Almost every comment was about whether the girls were wrong or right rather than how we can use what they know to improve their reading and spelling. So here’s my (way too long for Twitter) response. … Read More

Do you have ‘Literacy Conversations’?

That Reading Thing is still our gold standard one-to-one programme for older struggling readers who need a boost before they feel confident enough to engage in more formal lessons in a group or classroom. That Spelling Thing is much less prescriptive and is home almost anywhere as long as students (of any age) are beyond the emergent reader level. When you combine the two you have a whole school vision for improving literacy across the curriculum. What is a ‘literacy … Read More

Inclusion – deep, wide and welcoming

This is a post about inclusion in schools, not just the inclusion of policy documents but the inclusion of real-life school, the inclusion that states explicitly, “you belong here regardless of how hard you find this”. At the start of each That Reading Thing training, participants read the following: 1. What did Cal tell that big man at the pub? He was mad! 2. Bliss is in the galaxy of Blob. When you reach Blob, you have to stop at … Read More

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

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