Approaches to Teaching Reading

Why we need to teach the Alphabetic Code

What is the Alphabetic Code? English has a complex writing system.  It has 26 letters but roughly 44 sounds (this depends on pronunciation). There are roughly 160+ different spellings for these 44 sounds.  In order to teach them in a […]

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Dictation is a great activity for emerging spellers

Most teachers approach teaching in a child-centered way so dictation goes against the grain. It may seem old-fashioned and yes, a bit dictatorial. But actually, is it a really powerful tool which is particularly useful for struggling or emerging readers […]

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How we can help kids to self-teach themselves to read

Have you ever wondered how kids can read words they haven’t been taught to read?  I recently came across the ‘Self Teaching Hypothesis’ Share,1955.  This hypothesis explains how kids use the sounds/spellings they have been taught and apply them to […]

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Why ‘structured’ reading instruction is not enough

diagram-of-what-cumulative-reading-instruction-should-look-like

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 use decodable books

Phonic Books range

What are decodable books and how do I use them? 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 […]

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Does spelling matter in the digital age?

Many children struggle with spelling.  Is it 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 […]

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What is a grapheme?

A grapheme is a letter or a number of letters that represent a sound (phoneme) in a word. Another way to explain it is to say that a grapheme is a letter or letters that spell a sound in a […]

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What is a phoneme?

Children reading

Now that everyone is talking ‘Synthetic Phonics speak’ it seems like a good time to clarify some of the terms  that are being used.

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