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how to teach reading

“Watch out!” – Avoiding the pitfalls of shifting practice

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With all that we hear about the science of reading, we can get caught up in the idea of ‘one big thing’ that will make our reading instruction the best in the universe. If only it was so!  The reality is that creating a really strong, systematic reading approach in our classrooms comes from an infinity of small things (that might seem massive as we make the leap) that we will never finish learning about. Now, before you log off and reach for the ice-cream, know that I am not saying the task of l…

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Harnessing the 4 Pillars in Phonics Instruction

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In last week’s post, ‘Phonics without the Froo Froo’, I wrote about the need for phoneme grapheme instruction to be direct, simple and explicit. If you haven’t read that post, you can find it here.  In this post I also outlined Stanislas Dehaene’s 4 pillars of learning. You can learn more about these pillars in his book, ‘How We Learn’.

How We Learn : Why Brains Learn Better Than Any Machine... for Now - Stanislas Dehaene

This week, I’d like to take the discussion even further and evaluate some common classroom practices against Dr Dehaene’s 4 pillars to help you maximise the i…

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Effective reading instruction may be closer than it appears

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We hear ‘Science of Reading’ and ‘evidence-based practice’ so often that it can start to feel like living up to the ideal is some kind of unattainable goal that we will never achieve in our classrooms.  After all, we are hard pressed to get to the toilet without having to  move at superhero speed. How are we supposed to have the head space and time to completely change the way we teach?  You might be thinking, “Isn’t it unrealistic to expect the super-human effort necessary to be a 6/6 in eviden…

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Top 5 Tips to Maximise Reading Success – Part 4

Building Sight Recognition

Tip No. 4 - Ditch the Sight Words

In a previous post I challenged the popular practice of giving beginning readers predictable texts. This week I’m REALLY asking you to go against everything you know and ditch the sight words. Yes, that’s right.  I said it. DITCH THE SIGHT WORDS.  Why? Basically, because they are not a thing.

For years and years we have been attempting to teach children to read using flawed methodology based on misunderstandings of how our brains process words.  Personal…

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