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’?

This is the start of a short series about the language/terminology/jargon of phonics – but first a little news! When I started That Reading Thing I worked in the overlapping sectors of alternative education and youth offending and I wrote the programme for teens who were almost all from the North End of Birkenhead. Since then, both the geography and the sectors have expanded beyond all hope and expectation. With the launch of That Spelling Thing, we’ve got tutors and … 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

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

1 2