Functional Skills – Phonics at Entry Levels

As I travel around the FE world I’m hearing that people have looked at the Post-16 Phonics Toolkit but haven’t necessarily read it. If that’s you, here’s a quick tour based around the chapter people are most concerned about. Chapter 11 is called “Turning the FSE word lists into a learning tool” It encourages FS teachers not to teach lists but to develop vocabulary for both reading and spelling. The chapter is a bit of a beast, but these six … Read More

Explicit Literacy Instruction

There are two phrases we ask That Reading Thing tutors to avoid: Sound it out Break it down Why? Because our students have heard these two phrases their whole school lives and have no idea what they mean. The analogy I give is learning to build my first website. I started with the WordPress platform because I’d read about their ‘famous 5-minute install’. Brilliant! There were no YouTube demo videos back then so I found the simplest instructions for the … Read More

News: Post-16 Phonics

The Post-16 Phonics Toolkit is now available! It’s been a wonderful experience working with a team of authors with such expertise – both writing the toolkit and creating trainings for professionals in the world of post-16 literacy. There are so many unique settings in the field and the toolkit can flex to work in any of them. It is based on the linguistic phonics principals which underpin both That Reading Thing and That Spelling Thing but it also includes much … Read More

Phonics: when singer rhymes with finger

I love conversations about how people pronounce words differently and knew I was onto an entertaining twitter thread when I saw a few responses to this tweet. However, reading through the thread made me feel more and more depressed about how people view phonics.  Almost every comment was about whether the girls were wrong or right rather than how we can use what they know to improve their reading and spelling. So here’s my (way too long for Twitter) response. … Read More

Post-16 Phonics

I’ll be reposting some relevant blog items in light of the launch of post-16 phonics for functional skills in England. Phonics in this context often involves a lot of “unlocking” knowledge the learner already possesses but doesn’t know how to use. Sometimes they need to get past their anger and shame over past school experiences. Here’s one such young person. **************** Why would you work on reading with a young offender? There are plenty of reasons not to. Being in … Read More

Literacy Conversation – start with spelling

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: sound & spelling phoneme & grapheme Because of changes to the curriculum, your students might need phoneme and grapheme. However, I prefer to start with the familiar because older students who’ve struggled with reading and spelling in the past can feel anxious about learning terminology and recalling terms can waste precious memory in … Read More

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