TESS Article: Do I have to spell it out? Synthetic phonics works | Anne Glennie

The following article appears in this week’s copy of TES Scotland (8th December)

 
Do I have to spell it out? Synthetic phonics works

Last month I gave evidence at the Scottish Parliament on my petition to improve literacy standards in schools through research-informed reading instruction. It calls for national guidance, support, and professional learning for teachers (and trainee teachers) specifically in systematic synthetic phonics.

I have been trying to raise awareness about this for the past three years, through blogs, opinion pieces and letters to various MSPs, including…

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What Teachers Do To Make Every Child Feel Like A Writer | literacyforpleasure

As part of our ongoing work on building a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy, we have been reflecting on the second principle of our Writing For Pleasure manifesto:

Positive Expectations: Seeing All Learners As Writers (2)

Effective writing teachers hold high achievement expectations for all writers. They see all children as  writers and, from the first, teach strategies that lead to greater independence. They make the purposes and audiences for writing clear to children for both their class and personal writing projects. They teach what writing can do. They also promote the social aspects of…

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Reading Buddies | Jon Biddle

Over the past few months, we’ve been thinking about ways to involve all our staff (meaning SLT, support staff and office staff, as well as teachers) in the development of our whole school reading culture. We’ve also talked about the significant number of children who don’t have parental support with their reading at home and have decided that we’ll attempt to help counter this by creating one-to-one pupil and staff reading buddies across the school.

We looked at our staffing structure and worked out that we had about 35 people available to become buddies, meaning that we could support three…

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A Cautionary Blog Post About Using Structure Strips | literacyforpleasure

When reading about writing you are often faced with one of two extremes. At one end of a continuum is the belief that ‘language,’ including writing, cannot be effectively taught unless it is solely acquired through experiences and by being presented with a situation which causes an authentic reason to write.

At the other end is the idea that language is best learned through tutelage, rote-learning and explicit instruction in its structures, forms and conventions.

As is often the case with extremes, academic research and sensible practitioners suggest a moderate middle ground is required….

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Teaching Writing: What Actually Is Authentic Writing? | literacyforpleasure

It is often stressed that authentic writing experiences can improve children’s pleasure and academic outcomes in writing. Indeed, calls for authenticity can be found throughout literature and research (Dyson, 2003, Leung & Hicks, 2014, Flint & Fisher, 2014, Flint & Laman, 2012, Gadd, 2014, Grainger (Cremin), Goouch & Lambirth, 2003, New London Group, 2000). Perhaps the best example though is Hillocks (2011), concluding in his review of 100 years of writing research that:

we now know from a very wide variety of studies in English and out of it, that students who are…

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Book reviews | Phonics and Books

I have had the great good fortune to be asked to review lots of children’s books over the last few months. I had not written a book review for some considerable time and I realised whilst writing the reviews for the books I had read, how essentially dull writing a review can be.

The exception was when I got tremendously excited about a particular book I had read and then it became much easier to write. Often, however, we expect children to write reviews about many of the books they read and children may find this task dry and unexciting.

How can we make it a more enjoyable learning…

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The Writing Framework: How It Is Possible To Assess Writers And Not Just The Writing. | literacyforpleasure

There has been a lot of talk around assessing children’s writing for a long time now.

Anxiety has been caused as a result of what constitutes independent writing. People are talking about the merits and disadvantages of comparative judgement but I think we are missing the point here. My instinct is that, in all likelihood, we shouldn’t be marking individual writing at all. We should be assessing the development of the writer over time. I trialled this in my class last year.

To ensure children could produce writing topics independently, over the course of the year, I taught the children…

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