Synthetic Phonics

How to practice reading ‘tap’ and ‘tape’

Many students struggle with split vowel spellings a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e. These are also known as ‘split digraphs’, ‘magic e’ and ‘vowel + e’. These students need extra explicit instruction and practice reading words with these split spellings. It […]

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READ, SOUND, WRITE, CHECK – a better way to teach spelling

This year I have a number of students in Year 5 and 6 who are fluent readers.  Their problem is spelling.  Typically they may spell a word with all the correct letters that are in the wrong order, e.g. ‘nitgh’ […]

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How to teach children about syllables

Before children can begin to read and spell multisyllabic words they need to get a feel for what a syllable is – for what a ‘mouthful of a word’ is. If they have had systematic phonics instruction they may find […]

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Cumulative teaching – how to teach children who forget

Many of my students at the Bloomfield Learning Centre have difficulty remembering the complex alternative spellings of sounds in English.  The problem is they don’t hold on to what they have learned.  The teacher may teach <ai> and the next […]

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Independent review of That Dog! series

  We have just received this independent review from Teach Primary Magazine.  The review is available online.  See link below. Phonic Books – That Dog! for catch-up readers across the school. At a glance: • Age appropriate, synthetic phonic catch-up […]

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Top tips for teaching phonics

1. Step-by-step You don’t need to teach the whole alphabet to get reading going. Start with a few letters and get children to build words with them. Our series starts with the sounds s, a, t, i, m. 2. Word-building […]

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How to use decodable books

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How to use decodable books Decodable books are controlled texts that beginner readers can read independently once they have been taught the spellings in the text.  Children learning to read with phonics benefit from reading decodable texts because they allow […]

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What is the ‘Matthew effect’ when it comes to reading instruction?

What is ‘The Matthew effect’ when it comes to reading instruction? This idea (mooted by Keith Stanovich) is that children who learn to read in the first three years of their education become fluent readers. They read more, learn more […]

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‘Sound Snap’ – a fun way to teach ‘precise pronunciation’

I have just started to teach a struggling reader  in Year 1.  The first thing I observed from my assessment was that she did not use ‘pure phonic sounds’, also known as ‘precise pronunciation’.  Many of the consonants were pronounced […]

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What is Balanced Literacy?

When asked how they teach reading, many teachers pride themselves that they are teaching ‘balanced literacy’ in their classroom.  This idea seems to imply that they are covering all the approaches their pupils may need to learn to read.  But […]

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