Synthetic Phonics

Aligning decodable books with your phonics program

Regardless of which program or approach to teaching phonics we use, teaching phonics systematically means we follow a particular scope and sequence with its own logic for introducing sound-symbol correspondences and spelling patterns. Many teachers are coming to recognize that […]

Read More

Can Lucy Calkins’ changing views shift the way millions of children are taught to read?

kids-reading-decodable-books

The news has been spreading that Lucy Calkins, head of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP), has been learning about the science of reading and making changes to her guidance and widely used curricula. Throughout her career, she […]

Read More

Books to engage and motivate older, struggling readers

Older, struggling readers often have gaps in the their phonics knowledge.  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 materials can engage […]

Read More

Consonant blends and consonant teams – what’s the difference?

Many of the terms in phonics are quite confusing.  Consonant blends and consonant teams are such terms.  So, what is the difference between the two? A consonant blend is a term used for two adjacent consonants in a word that […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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: […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More