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

Traditional or Progressive? A new narrative

Following is a post I wrote way back in 2007. I’m re-publishing because the right/left polarisation of education keeps cropping up. It’s appalling to think that teachers will reject a useful educational tool because it is perceived as “right wing”. It’s a tool – not a political statement. Let’s create a new narrative of literacy. I’ve edited a little for this 2020 version. August 2007 Over on the Reading Reform Foundation site, there’s been a discussion, in part, about what … 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 Worth Unlimited in Ellesmere Port. Nineteen year old N was referred to me by a training agency saying that he could … Read More

Never give up

Is anyone really unteachable? CK is a young man, 25 years old, who came to us because his Grandmother heard one of our LMG members talking about That Reading Thing. She said that C had never been able to read, he had dyslexia and had gone to a special school. He was holding down a job but wanted to go in the army and couldn’t pass the English test. He had gone to the local college for group lessons and … Read More

Phonics & Adult Literacy

13 September 2017 I wrote the following on the 14th of April, 2009. Eight years and five months later, a decision has been made to include structured phonics in literacy for adults who are working at the lowest levels. I’ll blog further on the specific proposals but this is a good starting point. **** This morning (13/04/09) in the Guardian, Peter Kingston writes about the possibilities of using phonics in adult literacy. The NRDC report he refers to is Improving … Read More

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