Accent survey results- ‘dog fox bought’

posted in: Secondary literacy

I created the survey to answer a question which arose in conversation with a British English speaker about the number of vowels in American English and my Canadian brain could not cope with ‘fox’ and ‘dog’ having different sounds. To hear the target vowels, go to this site, scroll down & click on the /ɒ/, /ɑ/ and /ɔ/ on the bottom right of the vowel diagram. Some North American speakers say the /ɔ/. All say either or both of /ɒ/ … Read More

Teaching Assistants & Literacy Support

Many schools use non teaching staff to help pupils with their reading, but they need the right tools, training and ongoing support to make a significant impact. The Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF) has created this list for improving the use of learning support assistants. As they point out, the staff are already in the school and in the budget, so the next decision is to find an evidence based literacy intervention which is both affordable and suitable for non teaching … Read More

Evidence 1 ~ Anecdotes & Data

Memories from years past – but these are the stories I continue to hear. Behaviour and literacy often go hand in hand and young people who have made little literacy progress in all their years at school can take off with That Reading Thing. Both of these arrived via email recently.They both tell their stories in different ways.  I especially love how the anecdote acknowledges the importance of a tutor who won’t give up in the face of resistance.  I … Read More

Decodable text for teens and adults

We’re often asked what decodable readers we recommend and the answer is ‘none’. 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 words from the first lesson. That Reading Thing is structured … Read More

Explicit Literacy Instruction

There are two phrases we ask That Reading Thing tutors to avoid: Sound it out Break it down Why? Because our students have heard these two phrases their whole school lives and have no idea what they mean. The analogy I give is learning to build my first website. I started with the WordPress platform because I’d read about their ‘famous 5-minute install’. Brilliant! There were no YouTube demo videos back then so I found the simplest instructions for the … Read More

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

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