News & Information

Little things can make a big difference

The education researcher Dylan Wiliam has said that “changing what teachers do is more important than changing what teachers know.” But isn’t knowledge power? And what we do is obviously linked to what we know. So, how can that be? […]

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Parents steers school toward 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 linked at the end of this piece.  It is uplifting to hear how a parent turned […]

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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 […]

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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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The conveyor belt from reading difficulties to prison

  Emily Hanford’s most recent podcast, an audio documentary called What Words Say, is a must listen.  Hanford explains how reading difficulties often find expression in bad behavior, and she points out that children of color who struggle with reading […]

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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


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 help your child read a decodable book

Using systematic phonics approach encourages success

Decodable books are books that a child can read once she/he has been taught the phonics in the book.  It is really important to see decodable books as an experience that will be successful if enough preparation is made beforehand.  […]

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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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