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 of teaching kids to recognise whole words is a ‘top down’ approach. It requires children […]

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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 this child’s life around by getting him assessed and starting him on a structured literacy […]

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Should we teach spelling in the digital age?

Teaching spelling in the digital age

Many children struggle with spelling.  It is important to teach them how to spell in the digital age when ‘Spell Check’ is there to help? The answer is yes.  Why? Firstly, because at present Spell Check makes errors as do voice recognition tools. Spell check may offer homophone or spelling options – but can students […]

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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 what is ‘balanced literacy?’ Can it be defined or measured? Read this article by Professor […]

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What is wrong with ‘look and say’?

Here is an excerpt from Mike Lloyd’s book ‘Phonics and the Resistance to Reading’ (page 42): “Recognising whole words by memorising the appearance of the word (sometimes known as the ‘look-and-say’ approach) is highly problematic.  The capacity to remember words as whole-patterns is highly limited and in any case highly inefficient.  As Professor Martin Kozloff […]

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