“Dirty 30” – most misspelt (or misspelled) words at GCSE #1

At That Spelling Thing, we believe every single secondary teacher, no matter what their subject, should have an easy to implement strategy for spelling in their classroom. A good strategy should capitalize on what students already know and remove the need for remembering every word by sight. Our unofficial motto is No More Look Cover Write Check! and we mean if from the bottom of our hearts. According to Professor Greg Brooks, the English code behaves predictably 77% of the time. … Read More

Literacy for Young Adults Part 2

NEWS: Due to recent discussion around the inclusion of phonics in adult literacy, I thought I’d better mention that all lessons in both Part 1 and Part 2 of Literacy for Young Adults are age-appropriate linguistic phonics. It’s not about c-a-t says cat! Community literacy, offered in an informal one-to-one setting, is a powerful tool for people who are wary of classrooms – and that includes many people who have tried and failed to learn to read and spell in … Read More

Literacy for Young Adults Part 1

NEWS: Due to recent discussion around the inclusion of phonics in adult literacy, I thought I’d better mention that all lessons in both Part 1 and Part 2 of Literacy for Young Adults are age-appropriate linguistic phonics. It’s not about c-a-t says cat! Community literacy, offered in an informal one-to-one setting, is a powerful tool for people who are wary of classrooms – and that includes many people who have tried and failed to learn to read and spell in … Read More

How to make phonics suitable for teens and adults

When people hear “phonics” they think “childish”, and not without reason. Most phonics programmes are childish, but not because they teach reading using the sounds and symbols of the language. They’re childish because they’re created for little children, emergent readers who have no history of trying and failing to learn to read. There are some wonderful programmes for little ones. The problem with using any teaching method intended for young children is that you automatically infantilise the learner no matter … Read More

Who’s in Control?

This question is for anyone who delivers literacy to older struggling readers. “Older” here can mean 12, 20 or 68 – that is, anyone who’s old enough to be embarrassed by their poor reading. How much control does your student have in your lessons? I ask that because a new TRT tutor emailed with the following: So, I have been working with _______ who is ______ years old. (fill in your own student name and age) I think he has … Read More

Education in Prisons

Dame Sally Coates’ review of prison education was published recently and I’d like to add some thoughts. Having spent fourteen months working in the pre-release unit of a large men’s prison, I come to this with huge respect for the fact that prisons are complex environments in which to achieve almost anything. Most of what interested me is in Chapter 3: “A personalised and inclusive approach to learning” and I want to discuss the disconnection between recognising the huge proportion … Read More

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