Podcast and Blog

reading instruction

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How Many Feet Does Your School Have on the Bus?




In this week's episode I explored the concept of making sure that you have both feet on the bus. To understand what I mean by that, we need to know what it means to be 'on the bus'.

This idea of the bus was something that occurred to me a few years ago. It was the idea that we're all moving in the same direction, that everybody is welcome and that we are part of a network of primary teachers and leaders committed to advocating for the right of every child to be t…

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How do I know if resources are evidence aligned?



Once you have embraced the idea of prepared programs and resources, the next big question you face is, 'How do I know that this tool is evidence aligned?'  This week's episode explores some key criteria to look out for when making important, and often expensive, decisions. 

Here are the highlights from this episode: 


I have 12 criteria for you to consider when selecting literacy tools and resources. They are as much about how students are taught as they ar…

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Should we be using commercial programs to teach reading?





When it comes to making a move to structured literacy, few topics generate discussion like commercial programs. 

In our 2022 Teach Voice in Literacy Instruction Survey, a whopping 96.5% of teachers said that they wanted a program to guide them step by step through reading instruction
 
HOWEVER

23% of teachers said that they had to create or purchase their own phonics program because their school didn't have one and 35% said that they create some aspect of a…

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Signing off for 2022

To say that it has been a big year here at Jocelyn Seamer Education is an understatement! Over the past 12 months, I have: 

  • Submitted, finalised and released my first book with Routledge
  • Delivered Teach Along courses to almost 1000 people
  • Finished and released Reading Success in Action – Decoding 3
  • Written around 50 blog posts
  • Presented at 3 Sharing Best Practice conferences 
  • Met and had dinner with Linnea Ehri (eek, so exciting!) and presented at an event alongside her
  • Directly support…

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All I want for Christmas is an Evidence Informed Classroom

As we approach the end of the 2022 school year here in Australia, you may have the good fortune to be asked what resources you would like to order for 2023. If that's the case, here are my top suggestions for items that can support you in your quest to move towards a structured literacy classroom.

1) A subscription to the Resource Room. The Resource Room is the only online membership dedicated solely to structured literacy. Sure, morning teas are lovely, but if you really want to support your te…

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Structured Literacy Requires Structured Planning

A quick peek at many a Facebook group just now will reveal that teachers are tired. Not just a little bit tired, but pooped, beat, spent and feeling plain old burnt out. Having just read that first sentence, you might then be wondering why I have decided to write about getting set up for the school year that hasn't even started yet. It's this simple. If you are anything like me, trying to rest and rejuvenate while the 'to do' list is swimming around in your head is a fool's errand. You lie down …

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Why More Books about Teaching won’t Necessarily Make us Better Teachers

I love vegetable gardening. I love the excitement of seeing seeds germinate and little plants break through the soil. I love watching fruit and vegies grow and ripen to the point where they end up on our dining table. Over the years, I have bought many, many gardening books. I have a whole back catalogue of Grass Roots magazines as well as a book on square metre gardening, backyard self-sufficiency, growing vegetables in tropical climates (when I lived in the tropics), growing vegetables in a co…

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Text Based Units in a Multi-age Classroom

For most of my teaching life, I have taught in multi-age and composite classrooms. I was once the lone teacher in a little school where I had pre-school to year 5 in the one room! While all teachers have a range of ‘levels’ in their classroom, multi-age/multi-grade teachers, have a special situation to contend with. Not only do they need to meet students where they are up to in building foundational skills, but they need to meet a range of learning outcomes as outlined by the curriculum. When it…

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Let’s Raise Our Voices

We hear so many voices when it comes to literacy instruction, particularly reading. We hear from departments of education, opinion writers in the newspapers, professional bodies, unions, governments, social commentators, ‘think tanks’ and people in universities. Some of these voices speak from a place of understanding about research and the importance of taking decisive action in schools.  Some of these voices complain about decodable texts and, as in the case of one recent interview, suggest th…

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The Finer Points of Instruction in Building Background Knowledge

Many of us are now aware of the importance of background knowledge and vocabulary in comprehension. We have learned that comprehension is not a matter of learning a range of discrete skills that are practised and applied to other texts but of having an understanding of the concepts and vocabulary in texts and applying various cognitive strategies to interact with that text. 

Background knowledge is critical for inference (Stahl, 2014). For example, in the book, ‘Go Go and the Silver shoes’, Go …

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