Functional Skills – Phonics at Entry Levels

As I travel around the FE world I’m hearing that people have looked at the Post-16 Phonics Toolkit but haven’t necessarily read it. If that’s you, here’s a quick tour based around the chapter people are most concerned about. Chapter 11 is called “Turning the FSE word lists into a learning tool” It encourages FS teachers not to teach lists but to develop vocabulary for both reading and spelling. The chapter is a bit of a beast, but these six … Read More

Literacy Conversation – start with spelling

This is the second post about developing a literacy conversation in your classroom. What shared language do you use with your students to talk about a word they’re struggling to spell or read? We’re limiting this post to four terms, two of which are perfect for literacy conversations with all students and two of which are useful for talking about the language. sound & spelling phoneme & grapheme Because of changes to the curriculum, your students might need phoneme and … 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

b/d Reversal

The tendency to reverse b and d is a huge embarrassment for older students who struggle to get the mirror image letters straight. On dyslexia discussion boards, the question keeps coming up, “How do we help our dyslexic students stop reversing b and d?” Letter and number reversal is something that tripped me up for years and I have evidence still in a scrapbook which I started at the age of 6 or 7. (Apologies to middle aged Canadians who … Read More

Spelling words with ough

This is a slightly modified excerpt from That Spelling Thing, a book of spelling strategies for the classroom, offering an alternative to look/say/cover/write/check. It’s written for teachers of any subject from middle primary to adult education and doesn’t require any literacy expertise. However, I’m assured there’s lots of content for teachers who are already teaching spelling. Buy the book – takes you to thatspellingthing.com. Bundling by tricky code <ough> isn’t a common grapheme but it occurs in very common words … Read More

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