Literacy in the Youth Justice System

Today saw the publication of Charlie Taylor’s Youth Justice Review. Cynic that I am, I settled down to read it expecting to find a heap of material for an argumentative blog post. Keeping in mind that I’m writing about education rather than the more contentious devolution of YOTs, I’m happy to announce that I can only summon up a reasonably strong “Yes, but”. That Reading Thing came out of working with a little school for boys with emotional and behavioural … Read More

Youth Work & Literacy

That Reading Thing came into being because of young people I met through youth work. It was originally a youth work tool and used mostly by youth workers and volunteers trained to work in youth projects. They did such a spectacular job that schools took notice because their furthest out students were beginning to come to class on time, in uniform and able to engage. Why? Because youth workers had helped them, for the first time, discover how the English … Read More

A Conversation with Amy

Amy was in Year 10, almost 15, very artistic, and refused to read even one multi-syllable basic code word on the TRT assessment. “I don’t read words like that.” Me: Amy – when you read, do you get pictures in your head? (This is a standard That Reading Thing question for teens who often say, “I didn’t know I was allowed to do that anymore.”) Amy: (with feeling) I hate reading. I just hate it. I hate reading. Me: Well, … Read More

Reading & Spelling with a Visual Learner

Dusted off and polished up – because the myth of learning styles never goes away. Not all That Reading Thing students are disaffected and disengaged. Pete is in his twenties and formally diagnosed as severely dyslexic. He reads well but his spelling is a huge embarrassment to him. He’s accomplished in many other areas and can clearly explain his strategies for reading and writing. Reading: “I know all the words by sight”. (and he does – sort of) Spelling: “I … Read More

four floor flour – Sight or Sound?

Working with an adult who didn’t learn how to decode: “Which musical did the Daily Express hail: A fine, four-fendered, fabulous night?” The word that stumped Pete here was four, not because he didn’t recognize it but because it had been filed in his memory in the same slot as flour and floor and those 3 words always tripped him up. Always. four flour floor. We can all see the connection but most of us will see the differences instantly. … Read More

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