Approaches to Teaching Reading

Why the Phonics Check is not just for Year 1

I recently had a Zoom meeting with a Year 6 teacher who discussed how a number of his pupils were struggling with reading and he said he was using the Year 1 phonics check to assess them.  This may seem […]

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What is a schwa sound?

What is a schwa sound? And – did you know it is the most common sound in the English language? A schwa sound is a weak vowel sound in an unstressed syllable.  Here is an explanation: Most multi-syllabic words in […]

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Decodable Books – What’s the Point?

I read this post and thought it was really worth reposting.  It explains in simple and sympathetic language why decodable books have an important role to play in learning to read.  New Zealand has been slow in adopting Systematic Synthetic […]

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How decodable texts contribute to reading fluency and comprehension

Reading fluency is a precondition for reading comprehension. If the reader is not fluent he/she will struggle to put the words together in a sentence and make meaning of it. When short term memory is taken up by working out […]

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Whole word reading vs decoding – why does it matter?

Many schools are moving away from teaching children to recognise whole words to teaching them how to decode. It is important for anyone reading with children, or teaching them to read to understand why this is so significant. The approach […]

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Why and how to Boost Tier 2 words

Many of our students will need a boost to their vocabulary. This may be because they have missed out on learning, or that remote learning is not as effective as in-school learning (especially for children with a learning disability). As […]

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‘Merry Christmas!’ and ‘Incidental Phonics’

  It is that time of year and although, in this COVID year everything seems subdued, we have the Christmas messages, wishes and advertising everywhere.  Children will be busy writing lists for Santa and decorating Christmas cards. You just can’t […]

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Why do older, struggling readers need age-appropriate books?

Older, struggling readers often have gaps in the their phonics knowledge and skills.  They find alternative spellings particularly confusing.  Many suffer from low self esteem so offering them decodable materials that are age-appropriate is vital.  Vital because if the reading […]

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Parent shines a light on the science of reading

It is so sad to hear when a young child says he wants to kill himself because he can’t read as described in the interview at the end of this piece. It is uplifting to hear how a parent turned […]

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Phonics vs morphology? Why we need both!

Phonics VS morphology?  Why we need both! Some time ago, I attended a course on morphology.   I was using an excellent phonics programme (Sounds-Write) and felt I needed to develop my understanding of morphology and its role in teaching kids […]

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