Blog

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Finding your way in uncertain times

If you are a teacher in Australia, there’s a fair chance that you are feeling a degree of worry about what the 2022 school year is going to throw at you.   School communities are going back to the classroom with uncertainty about a range of things including:

  • When exactly will we go back?
  • Will we be in person or online?
  • Will we be expected to teach in a hybrid model?
  • What happens if staff or students are covid positive?
  • Exactly what will all of this mean for learning?
  • How do I prepare for…

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An Integrated Approach to Literacy Instruction

This last week I’ve been interviewing teachers for my book, ‘Reading Success in the Early Primary Years: A Teacher’s Guide to Implementing Systematic Instruction’. As well as a summary of the research and in-depth details about how to bring structured literacy to life in your classroom, the book will contain ‘snapshots of practice’ from experienced teachers who have adopted the approach in their classrooms. While these teachers certainly don’t feel like they know it all (who does?), they are far…

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Lasting the Distance in 2022

2022 is here and it’s time to get clear about what’s important.  Learning to read is a complex process that goes on behind ‘closed doors’. That is, we can see the impact of what we do as teachers, but we don’t see the processes happening inside children’s heads.  Reading instruction is also complex. There are so many moving parts to gold standard reading instruction, especially when we are trying to meet every one of our students where they are up to, that teaching reading can feel like an overw…

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'Tis the Week Before Christmas

Dear Colleagues, 

What a year it's been!  I know that so many of you have put in a mammoth effort this year to help each and every child reach their reading best and, on their behalf, I want to say, "Thank you!"   It has been an absolute pleasure  to work with such a wonderful group of dedicated and talented teachers over 2021. I have been humbled by the emails and messages I have received from teachers sharing success and letting me know that my work has been of use.  My mission, like yours, i…

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Meeting Teachers Where They Are Up to

The end of the 2021 school year is upon us and many of us are turning our thoughts to what will happen in 2022.   In my last post I talked about different aspects of getting ready for structured literacy instruction and shared a reflection template and action plan for individuals and teams to work through.   This week I’d like to address what it looks like to support teachers through this journey at their various stages of development.

Just as there is no one size fits all for student learning,…

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Getting Set Up for 2022 (Across the Big 6)

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 dow…

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The C Grade

This post has previously been published, and has been republished on 27/11/2021

It is report time in Australia right now and tens of thousands of parents are either reading, or about to read about their child’s academic progress over the last two terms.  All schools in Australia are required to grade children’s academic results on a 5 point scale.  In many schools this is represented through A – E grades, with a C grade meaning that the student has learned to complete the skill or task reason…

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Differentiation and the Literacy Block

In last week’s post I wrote about how you can arrange your structured literacy block to get the biggest bang for your buck.  The inevitable questions that arose from that post were, “how do you differentiate?” and “How do you fit everything in?”

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 These two things are separate, but related so I’ll tackle them one at a time and go from there.  The first thing to note is that there is no, single, one way to make all of this happen. I could poll 100 teachers and come up 100 variations of the bloc…

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The What, Why and How Long of the Literacy Block

It’s one thing to understand the basic of a systematic phonics lesson and the need to use decodable texts, and it’s another thing to know where that all fits in with the big picture of the literacy block. In this post I’m going to briefly outline the what, when, why and how long of what one option for a literacy block set up could look like.

Daily Review – approximately 15 minutes

Your daily review is a short, quickly paced chance to consolidate phoneme/grapheme correspondences, blending, segm…

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