Reading Difficulties

Teach high-frequency words like an incomplete puzzle

English is complex and we need to teach reading in a structured way from simple to complex.  Unfortunately, there is no avoiding high-frequency words with spellings the children haven’t learned yet because they are present in even the simplest of […]

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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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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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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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Girls can be dyslexic too

In the past, most of the students referred to the Learning Center where I work were boys.  It was thought that dyslexia was a disability that mostly boys had.  Girls were very good at disguising their reading disability with neat […]

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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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How to make comprehension fun

How to make comprehension fun Most teachers will agree that the purpose of reading is comprehension.   But many children, especially kids who struggle with reading and spelling, hate comprehension activities.  It’s not because they hate comprehending or answering questions.  […]

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