Should we teach tricky words as ‘sight words’?

The new year has started and children are sent home to learn to read and spell tricky words by sight, that is by the shape of the word.  Does this make sense if they are learning to read with Synthetic Phonics?

Read this thoughtful post on the Phonics Blog.


The problem with multi-cueing

Thanks Spelfabet for this great post about how bad reading habits are formed when we teach children to multi-cue and why teachers hold on to the belief that it works – despite the evidence that shows it doesn’t.



When is a good time to start using letter names?

All too often children are taught letter names and letter sounds at the same time.  For some children this causes confusion as most letter names do not help to identify the sound the letters spell.

Here is an article by John Walker of Sounds Write explaining when it is helpful to start to use letter names.

‘School to prison’ pipeline all over the world. What to do?

Read this presentation by Pamela Snow at the Research Ed conference in Australia.  How to stop this constant, predictable pipeline of illiterate, disenfranchised young people ending up in prison.

Poor literacy provision in prisons

Here is an article about how literacy provision in prisons is not suitable.

Reading failure? What reading failure?

This is what education looks like if reading is not taught well in primary school.

Esse Quam Videri

“Yes, A level history is all about READING!”

I say it brightly as I dole out extracts from a towering pile of photocopying taken from different texts that will help the class get going with their coursework. I try and ooze reassurance. I cheerily talk about the sense of achievement my students will feel when they have worked their way through these carefully selected texts, chosen to transfer the maximum knowledge in the minimum reading time. I explain this sort of reading is what university study will be all about, while dropping in comforting anecdotes to illustrate it is much more manageable than they think. I make this effort because I NEED them to read lots. The quality of their historical thinking and thus their coursework is utterly dependent upon it.

Who am I kidding? This wad of material is the north face of the Eiger to most of my…

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Are English children the most tested in the world?

Read this article about testing in other countries and how this can be done without imposing stress on our children.