Ghoti = Fish (no it doesn’t)

Ghoti spells Fish. This thing still shows up on social media and still makes me sigh heavily for two reasons: 1. It still gets used by literacy professionals as ‘proof’ that the English language is ‘not phonetic’. Of course, we’re honest that English has a complex written code. There are a lot of ways to represent the sounds that we say. However – and this is a big deal for teen and adult literacy learners – the language is most … Read More

Poverty, Culture & Education

posted in: Thoughts on Education

Edited February 2020 Eugenics has shown up on my Twitter feed again, this time due to Andrew Sabisky’s appointment as a Downing Street advisor. When I wrote the original blog post, the idea that intelligence and class are related came up in the context of a Guardian article about whether or not ‘talking more to your baby’ will boost the child’s intelligence. Professor Dorothy Bishop wrote a critical response from her researcher’s perspective which included the possibility that a child’s … Read More

Inclusion – deep, wide and welcoming

This is a post about inclusion in schools, not just the inclusion of policy documents but the inclusion of real-life school, the inclusion that states explicitly, “you belong here regardless of how hard you find this”. At the start of each That Reading Thing training, participants read the following: 1. What did Cal tell that big man at the pub? He was mad! 2. Bliss is in the galaxy of Blob. When you reach Blob, you have to stop at … Read More

An alternative to scripted teaching

Direct Instruction, the umbrella under which scripted teaching sits, is set up as the antidote to Discovery Learning, the Traditional answer to Progressivism. This little post seeks to clarify how we use the term, ‘script’ and assure you (at the risk of coming over all 1990s) that there is a 3rd Way when it comes to literacy lessons. I think we’ll call it Directly Indirect Scripted Discovery Learning. Suggestions for pithier titles are welcome.   Here’s what we don’t mean … Read More

Response to an Anti-Phonixxer

posted in: Thoughts on Education

A friend on social media sent me this piece from the Washington Post and asked what I thought. Here’s a quick and somewhat gut-felt response. First, I have some sympathy with her about the education system; it doesn’t work well for everyone. I also have some sympathy with her feelings about what I’d call the medicalization of education. There’s far too much “diagnosing” of children who can’t read. Some people are genuinely dyslexic and have real glitches that make it … Read More

The School That Got Teens Reading

I finally got to watch the BBC2 programme, “The School That Got Teens Reading” (on iPlayer until Nov 27th). Most of the show was about encouraging a group of year 10 teens, who can but don’t read, to engage in the wonderful prose poem, One by Sarah Crossan. That’s not the remit of That Reading Thing, but the one student who did spark my interest was Olivia. Olivia is in year 10 and diagnosed as dyslexic. It was hard to … Read More

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