It’s Not Magic – It’s Reading

I once had a call from a TRT trained teacher who told me it was going well, but the boys were getting through all of the TRT Levels without making much improvement in their reading. That’s not the most thrilling news I’d ever heard so thought I’d see if the problem was with TRT or with the way it was being delivered. Me: How much time are you spending reading in each session? Teacher: Oh I’m just going through the … Read More

On Being the Collateral Damage of Michael Rosen

posted in: Thoughts on Education

I suspect that, given the chance to have a chat, Michael Rosen and I would agree on a lot. I love the art, magic and power of language both written and aloud. I read to my children until they were in high school. I have no professional purpose in life other than getting young people over the humiliation of not being able to read and spell by supporting them into the world of text. I’m suspicious of commercial educational concerns … Read More

3 Misconceptions of Struggling Readers

Lacking an MRI scanner, I have to depend on intuition (ie mind reading) when trying to figure out what’s going on inside the brain of a struggling reader. Following are a few of the more common misconceptions that struggling readers live with but never vocalise unless asked. When my son was four, someone asked him is he was going to go ice-skating. He replied, “First I’m going to get my balance, then I’m going to start skating.” He didn’t understand … Read More

TRT First Session Report (the stuff that keeps me going….)

posted in: Youth Work & Literacy

This was Jan’s first ever That Reading Thing session. She was meeting these lads for the first time in a small secondary school for young people with social, behavioural and educational difficulties – the exact environment which inspired the creation of That Reading Thing. I am so grateful for people like Jan (and Russell, who started yesterday) who are willing to take a risk and jump right in with young people who come in complex packages. It’s obvious from the … Read More

Bomb, Comb, Tomb – why strugglers need to know how English works

posted in: Dyslexia, Spelling

Yesterday I followed a link from Twitter to an interesting article talking about British Dyslexia Association training from the perspective of a phonics expert, Elizabeth Nonweiler. In the Spelling Course section (page 8 in the linked document) under the heading, “Why Is English So Difficult?”, is the following point: If we say they can get by with pure phonics, we are telling them a lie, because of words such as “tomb”, “comb” and “bomb”. The important truth of this sentence … Read More

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