Literacy Methods: Shame or Safety?

I was speaking at a high school where I had one hour to train 30 staff members in spelling with the English code which meant no time for the usual asides, quips or soapbox moments. I found myself saying, “I love the idea of very high expectations, but…” and moving on before I could expound. I did get to share this slide, but, again, with no time to discuss the concept of every classroom being a “shame free learning space”. … Read More

What Older Struggling Readers Need

 Older struggling readers need: 1. to change their minds about reading Reading includes speech and sounds so they learn to use their ears as well as their eyes. English is a code which can be decoded for reading and encoded for spelling. 2. new strategies for attacking unfamiliar words – to replace guessing badly Discover the complete English code Say the sounds and listen for a word Check for meaning in context. 3. confidence All learning needs to be both … Read More

3 Misconceptions of Struggling Readers

Lacking an MRI scanner, I have to depend on intuition (ie mind reading) when trying to figure out what’s going on inside the brain of a struggling reader. Following are a few of the more common misconceptions that struggling readers live with but never vocalise unless asked. When my son was four, someone asked him is he was going to go ice-skating. He replied, “First I’m going to get my balance, then I’m going to start skating.” He didn’t understand … Read More

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