Reading

/Tag: Reading

Why do some children struggle with reading?

2018-09-20T23:29:50+00:00

Janet and bloody John! When I was about 7, my primary school teacher told my parents that I would probably never learn to read. Apparently, the suspicion was that I might be mentally subnormal. My mother wasn't having any of that. Although she had no experience of teaching reading, she took me out of school, borrowed a set of the Janet and John reading scheme and set about teaching me to read. We spent several hours a day ploughing through the mind numbingly tedious 'adventures' of the flaxen-haired tykes. God I hated them Some weeks later she took me [...]

Why do some children struggle with reading?2018-09-20T23:29:50+00:00

Practice vs. talent: Five principles for effective teaching

2017-05-07T17:06:30+00:00

Are we the way we are because of our natures or is talent just the product of hard work? Which matters more natural ability of practice? A few years ago my mother reminded me of my struggles with learning to read. Apparently, one of my primary teachers had written home with the bad news that I was mentally subnormal and would probably never learn to read. My mum wasn’t having any of that. She took me out of school and spent all day every day forcing me to read the entire Janet and John reading scheme. My memories of this are [...]

Practice vs. talent: Five principles for effective teaching2017-05-07T17:06:30+00:00

Is our behaviour a choice?

2017-08-11T11:50:52+00:00

Arguments about free will date back to ancient Greece, but the scientific consensus now tends towards the belief that free will is an illusion. It's become an article of faith in the life sciences that all organisations can be reduced to algorithmic processes written in our genes. We either respond to environmental stimuli either by rapidly and unconsciously processing the best option in terms of survival or through random biochemical blips. We may believe we choose our actions, but in actual fact, choice is an illusion.  If every choice we seem to make is just an electrochemical brain process - a deterministic reaction [...]

Is our behaviour a choice?2017-08-11T11:50:52+00:00

Do we teach children to love reading? Part 1

2016-09-13T08:27:22+00:00

This sounds like a really obvious question but, after listening to Frank Furedi at researchED on Saturday and subsequently reading his book, The Power of Reading: from Socrates to Twitter, I've realised it isn't something I've given much thought. At one point during his lecture Frank said that few of the people interested in the teaching of reading actually value passing on a love of reading. My initial reaction was to reject this. I asked a question afterwards to challenge this view and his response was to ask why so few young people - especially boys - value reading if we actually value passing on [...]

Do we teach children to love reading? Part 12016-09-13T08:27:22+00:00

5 things every new (secondary) teacher should know about reading

2016-09-03T16:17:18+00:00

Reading's a funny old business. Generally, secondary school teachers  expect kids to come with a pre-loaded reading module. If they have it, all well and good. If they don't, we're stuffed. Luckily, the vast majority of students can read by the start of Year 7, even if they say they can't. But being able to read and being able to access the kind of material required to be academically successful are not at all the same thing. When I started teaching I knew next to nothing about reading, and I was meant to be an English teacher! Because it was something I [...]

5 things every new (secondary) teacher should know about reading2016-09-03T16:17:18+00:00

What every teacher needs to know about… students who leave secondary school unable to read

2016-04-25T11:19:48+00:00

Many thanks to the good folks at Teach Secondary magazine for publishing yet another of my incoherent rants. This time I set my sights on the lamentable and inexcusable failure of secondary schools to teach students to read with adequate fluency and accuracy. If a student leaves secondary school unable to read it is the school’s fault. I’ll leave that opening sentence hanging, parked like a tank on your lawn, while we consider what is actually involved in teaching students to read. Reading involves two linked abilities: language comprehension and decoding. Decoding is the ability to turn squiggles on a page (graphemes) [...]

What every teacher needs to know about… students who leave secondary school unable to read2016-04-25T11:19:48+00:00

Better analysis: seeing the wood AND the trees

2013-12-08T01:50:44+00:00

I've been exploring better ways to teach analysis and evaluation for some time now. A few years ago I stumbled on the idea of zooming in and out which has gone viral and made its way into the teaching zeitgeist. In case you've managed to miss it, the basic premise is that terms like analysis are pretty slippery and hard to tie down and benefit from being explained in a more concrete way. When we read a text, or look at an image, we see it as a distinct whole. We just see the tree. And 'the tree' is hard to [...]

Better analysis: seeing the wood AND the trees2013-12-08T01:50:44+00:00

The Matthew Effect – why literacy is so important

2013-09-24T19:58:38+00:00

Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. Matthew 13:12 In the world of the 2012 Ofsted framework very few schools are going to quibble with the prominence being given to the teaching of literacy but I'm far from concerned that we're clear on precisely why teaching literacy is so important beyond the fact that Big Brother is watching you: running scared of Wilshaw is not enough. I saw the fantastic Geoff Barton deliver a presentation called Don't Call it Literacy at the Wellington [...]

The Matthew Effect – why literacy is so important2013-09-24T19:58:38+00:00

What to know: the importance of cultural capital

2012-04-04T22:02:48+00:00

Let's face it, we need to know to stuff if we're going to have anything resembling a successful life. But what is it we need to know? As an English teacher I have a fair bit of fairly arcane knowledge that few others outside my profession and subject specialism would see as useful. Doctors know all kinds of stuff, and they save lives. Surely everything they know is vitally important? Well, if it is I've muddled along without knowing the vast majority of it. The same goes for anyone from green grocers to figure skaters to lion tamers: the knowledge we [...]

What to know: the importance of cultural capital2012-04-04T22:02:48+00:00

How should we teach reading?

2015-10-23T20:58:41+00:00

A few months ago I posted a piece in which Roy Blatchford (founder of The National Education Trust) outlined his manifesto for ensuring that every child gets at least a C grade in English. But, reading is complex. So how exactly should we teach children to read? This vexing question is utmost in many teachers' minds and is tangled up in three separate issues: Decoding - the process of turning symbols into sounds - generally taught using synthetic phonics Understanding - actually comprehending what's been read after it's been decoded Enjoyment - it's World Book Day tomorrow and getting kids to enjoy [...]

How should we teach reading?2015-10-23T20:58:41+00:00