The Teaching of Reading and Phonics – Debbie Hepplewhite

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If there is one thing that I REALLY wish I had known more about during my teaching career, it would be the effective teaching of phonics and reading. The thing is that until I was a few years into my career, I didn't know what I didn't know and everyone I worked with in teaching pretty much knew the same as me. In my NQT year we were encouraged to teach one letter of the alphabet and its sound per week, mainly through the medium of a 'sound table'. Bearing in mind that there are 26 letters and 39 teaching weeks, there wasn't much time for anything more advanced! Some of the methods I used to teach reading were less … Read More

My new favourite book…Into the Forest…

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I am always on the look out for a great children's book and I found this one at my good friend Pete's (mrmojowriting.co.uk) house last night! Although he does have 2 children they are now in Year 10 and Year 12 so he didn't buy it for them. Within his training repertoire, he has a really good day on using film to inspire techniques in writing for KS1 and Ks2. One of the  9 techniques that he explores is 'signposting'. In its simplest terms, children look at different film clips and texts and discuss how the director/author has built the tension and 'signposted' to the watcher/reader that something is about to happen. The children then experiment with using these techniques, first through talk and then writing. It is really … Read More

Reading, phonics, boys and interfering parents!

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When I talk to delegates about the teaching of reading and writing I am always saying that there is no quick fix to a complex process and reading and writing are both VERY complex! What is good is that we understand far more about effective methods of teaching reading and writing than we have ever done. To teach them well requires a great deal of knowledge and hard work. Ideally the children shouldn't feel like they are having the process done to them, rather that they enjoy being part of it. Still reading and writing are the main markers of success for lots of parents, and some practitioner and this often results in some important first steps being missed out … Read More

The Gruffalo (and other things that start with Grrrrr)!

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Even though I have read it at least a thousand times I still love it! It is one of those books that I really wish I had written ( I have a long list). It is a good book on lots of levels but I particularly like it as a teaching tool because of its very simple but very effective story language. Lots of repetition which is really good for allowing non readers to 'read along' to the memorised text, really building their self esteem. I wanted to capitalise on this element of book and the fact that it has a high engagement factor for both boys and girls. Added to that I wanted to use it as an outdoor … Read More