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

Inclusion – deep, wide and welcoming

This is a post about inclusion in schools, not just the inclusion of policy documents but the inclusion of real-life school, the inclusion that states explicitly, “you belong here regardless of how hard you find this”. At the start of each That Reading Thing training, participants read the following: 1. What did Cal tell that big man at the pub? He was mad! 2. Bliss is in the galaxy of Blob. When you reach Blob, you have to stop at … Read More

Phonics for Adults

There’s currently a buzz around the inclusion of phonics in the Entry Levels of the English Functional Skills qualification. I wrote this post when the original proposed content document was released. ******************************** My biggest fear about formalising phonics with adults is that people aren’t convinced it’s a good, helpful or even right thing to do so here’s a vision for age-appropriate phonics for adult literacy delivered with enthusiasm and understanding – a vision of lessons which are fresh, challenging, satisfying … Read More

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