Synthetic Phonics

What’s going on with ‘Letters and Sounds’?

The Department for Education has announced that is it ‘retiring’ the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme which was published in 2007.   In its place, it is asking publishers to submit their phonics programmes for revalidation.  Initially, the DfE planned to update […]

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What is phonemic awareness and why we should teach it

We know that phonological awareness is one of the  6 components of learning to read: phonological awareness – being able to identify sounds in words which includes, syllables, rhyme, alliteration and phonemes. phonics – to recognise letters and combination of […]

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How to teach blending

I have recently listened to two podcasts about working memory and they’ve made me think how we teach reading, specifically, how we help children with blending sounds into words: Evidence Based Education Podcast – Trialled and Tested: Working Memory: https://evidencebased.education/working-memory/ […]

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How to teach using our Dragon Eggs Series

See our Dragon Eggs series in action! An exemplary example of teaching with our Dragon Eggs Series… Observe how the reader practises decoding, but also encounters new words that develop vocabulary. Note the exemplary teaching: how the teacher makes sure […]

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Decodable reading quest books for building fluency

The Dragon Eggs Series is a set of 10 decodable books that combine revision of those tricky vowel digraphs and an exciting, beautifully-illustrated quest with dragons in it! Designed to engage children and secure their Alphabetic Code knowledge and reading […]

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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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‘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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Do decodable books need to be boring and silly?

Do decodable books need to boring and silly? ‘Cat sat on mat….’ Critics of decodable books claim that they are boring and often don’t make sense. They quote examples like ‘Cat sat on mat. Pam sat on cat…etc.’ They have […]

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Why ‘structured’ reading instruction is not enough

Why we need to teach ‘structured and cumulative’ reading instruction In the bad old days before I learned how to teach kids to read, I taught kids to read in a structured way. That is, what I thought was structure: […]

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