News: Post-16 Phonics

The Post-16 Phonics Toolkit is now available! It’s been a wonderful experience working with a team of authors with such expertise – both writing the toolkit and creating trainings for professionals in the world of post-16 literacy. There are so many unique settings in the field and the toolkit can flex to work in any of them. It is based on the linguistic phonics principals which underpin both That Reading Thing and That Spelling Thing but it also includes much … 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

Post-16 Phonics

I’ll be reposting some relevant blog items in light of the launch of post-16 phonics for functional skills in England. Phonics in this context often involves a lot of “unlocking” knowledge the learner already possesses but doesn’t know how to use. Sometimes they need to get past their anger and shame over past school experiences. Here’s one such young person. **************** Why would you work on reading with a young offender? There are plenty of reasons not to. Being in … 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

Decodable text for teens and adults

People (wonderful and supportive people) often ask us to recommend their decodable readers, even some written for teens and adults, but we decline. 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 … Read More

Phonics for Adults

There’s currently a buzz around the inclusion of phonics in the Entry Levels of the English Functional Skills qualification. I wrote this post when the original proposed content document was released. ******************************** My biggest fear about formalising phonics with adults is that people aren’t convinced it’s a good, helpful or even right thing to do so here’s a vision for age-appropriate phonics for adult literacy delivered with enthusiasm and understanding – a vision of lessons which are fresh, challenging, satisfying … Read More

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