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

posted in: Secondary literacy

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. 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 would like numbers so much more … 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

Phonics for Adults

This post was written in response to the first viewing of the DfE’s subject content document for Functional Skills English reforms published in 2017. I wrote it with no idea that I’d be involved in the creation of the ETF’s Post-16 Phonics Approaches. It’s a joy to look back at my “ideal world of phonics for adults” and see that we managed to fit quite a lot of it into the toolkit. ******************************** My biggest fear about formalising phonics with … Read More

Poverty, Culture & Education

posted in: Thoughts on Education

Edited February 2020 Eugenics has shown up on my Twitter feed again, this time due to Andrew Sabisky’s appointment as a Downing Street advisor. When I wrote the original blog post, the idea that intelligence and class are related came up in the context of a Guardian article about whether or not ‘talking more to your baby’ will boost the child’s intelligence. Professor Dorothy Bishop wrote a critical response from her researcher’s perspective which included the possibility that a child’s … Read More

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