Is anyone “unteachable”?

posted in: Secondary literacy

Yet again, I heard about a young adult who came to his first That Reading Thing session, not with a “label” as the education system would call it, but with a huge engraved boulder strapped to his shoulders. This one said “unteachable”. Can you imagine being in your mid-20s and honestly believing that you would never learn to read? Thankfully an alert person knew about a local TRT project and thought maybe he could get some help. It turned out … Read More

Why the Changes at That Reading Thing?

That Reading Thing is now global and online. That means anyone in the English speaking world can deliver this proven effective literacy method to teens and adults who are struggling readers and spellers. They can access the full TRT training and all the materials for a fraction of the previous cost. As is often the case, this change was inspired by a difficulty that needed surmounting – in this situation, drastic funding cuts to both education and youth work. I … Read More

Literacy for Young People on the Outside of Education

Years ago now, during the Round 8 funding for mentoring young offenders, I sat in a meeting where a woman from the Basic Skills Agency stated categorically that you couldn’t sit a teenaged offender down at a table and teach them to read. It just wasn’t possible. It was early days for That Reading Thing and, lacking guts, I let that comment slide by while fuming at the arrogance of a specialist who was consigning our most vulnerable teens to … Read More

Literacy for Young People who May or May Not Have Offended

Here’s something I wrote in 2013 in response to a conversation about ‘illiterate young offenders’. Reading deficits in ‘young offenders’ exist for many reasons, not just a lack of good instruction in primary school because they often have complex educational, social and emotional needs. I also don’t talk about young offenders separate from any other marginalised young person because those in YOIs are just the ones who got caught and sentenced to an institution, not the ones who got a … Read More

What Older Struggling Readers Need

 Older struggling readers need: 1. to change their minds about reading Reading includes speech and sounds so they learn to use their ears as well as their eyes. English is a code which can be decoded for reading and encoded for spelling. 2. new strategies for attacking unfamiliar words – to replace guessing badly Discover the complete English code Say the sounds and listen for a word Check for meaning in context. 3. confidence All learning needs to be both … Read More

Books for Struggling Readers: 3 – least confident

It can be quite difficult to find “real reading” material for those who are working hard through the Foundation Levels of TRT. They can read the decodable sentences but, if they’re not flying towards the Advanced Levels, it’s important that they have something to read that is all of: possible, challenging and age-appropriate. Here are my two favourite solutions for two very different age groups. Star Quest Several years ago, the local youth offending team asked me to work with … Read More

1 7 8 9 10 11 12 13