Introducing the ‘On the Science of Reading Bus’ Facebook Group

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Many of us know about the science of reading. We know the importance of phonics, oral language, decodable texts and phonemic awareness and we are hungry for ways to develop our classroom practice so that we can get the best outcomes for every child.

If this is you, I want to invite you to join me on the Science of Reading Bus in 2021!  Being on the bus is an idea that really appeals to me.  The bus is the network of teachers, education assistants, parents, intervention specialists, university lecturers, academics and anyone else who is passionate about every child’s right to be taught to read with evidence informed, systematic reading instruction.  When I first conceived this idea, I imagined driving down the road with a bus full of people all leaning out of windows, yelling out to everyone else about the power of the Science of Reading.   The bus is a welcoming place. It’s a place where we are serious about our work, but don’t take ourselves too seriously. It’s a place where everyone is welcome, regardless of how many years they have been teaching or in what context they support children.

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So many of us understand the fundamental ‘what’ of reading instruction but could use a little help to pinpoint exactly what the ‘how’ looks like or how we can take our teaching to the next level.  To help with that, I have framed our practice into 8 Key Actions.  

1 - Intentionally teach oral language concepts and skills.

2 - Explicitly build vocabulary and background knowledge.

3 - Explicitly teach phonological and phonemic skills.

4 - Teach phonics systematically and explicitly.

5 - Teach phonics using a set sequence.

6 - Closely monitor progress and reteach as needed.

7 - Teach blending and segmenting together.

8 - Provide decodable texts that align with your phonics progression.

Throughout 2021 we will explore these 8 key actions, spending a few weeks on each.  As a part of the ‘On the Science of Reading Bus’ Facebook Group you will have access to plain speech information about the reading science, videos, interviews with experts and, most importantly, you will help shine a spotlight on success.  The messages of doom and gloom about our profession can leave us feeling that the mountain we have to climb is so very high and that we have to carry the load all on our own.   Nobody can thrive and take positive action feeling overwhelmed and discouraged.  As much as this group is a group for learning more about the 8 Key Actions of the Science of Reading, it is a place for us to celebrate and motivate each other.

You can shine a spotlight on successes and share motivational messages here.   
(Scroll down to the bottom and find the spotlight picture. 


Our exploration of the 8 Key Actions begins next week with oral language.

Key Action 1 - Intentionally teach oral language concepts and skills (including syntax, morphology, etymology and language features).  This involves making our classrooms language rich places to spend time and engaging every child in the opportunity for meaningful discussion, sharing and conversation.

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Until then we will focus on getting to know our fellow group members and inviting our colleagues and networks to join us on the bus! 

If you are ready to join me on the bus and connect with my new Facebook Group, you can do so here.

My goal is to have 8000 more people join the bus this year.  It’s a goal that is ambitious, hopeful and exciting to me. 8000 people all influencing the wellbeing and learning of children could lead to 200 000 children receiving more systematic instruction in 2021.   So, when you are inviting colleagues and networks to join YOU on the bus, reach out to those who might be at the start of their change journey. Show them that our community is a supportive and inclusive one. 

I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together in 2021! I look forward to seeing you inside the Facebook group (if that’s your thing) and to hear from you about your successes this year.

Please feel free to share this post with your colleagues, staffs and friends.  The more people who join us on the bus, the more children's lives we can help to influence. 

Looking for ready-made resources to help you implement structured literacy in your classroom?  Read more about the Resource Room here. 
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