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 in the youth justice system

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’?

That Reading Thing is still our gold standard one-to-one programme for older struggling readers who need a boost before they feel confident enough to engage in more formal lessons in a group or classroom. That Spelling Thing is much less prescriptive and is home almost anywhere as long as students (of any age) are beyond the emergent reader level. When you combine the two you have a whole school vision for improving literacy across the curriculum. What is a ‘literacy … 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

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