Anything but the teaching . . .


The latest issue of Best Evidence in Brief continues a long-standing trend in the business of teaching children to read: namely, to flail about looking for anything that might shore up student reading, without having to go to the bother of actually getting teachers to teach differently.

The bulletin describes an intervention in 12 US primary schools with economically disadvantaged students. All had their vision tested and were issued free spectacles if they were found to need them – one pair for school, one for home, with broken pairs replaced for free. I was surprised to read that 69% of students tested needed glasses, so it was well worth investing in the screening process.

Providing poor children with vision testing, and supplying glasses if indicated, is a good thing in and of itself, and to be applauded. It removes a key barrier that might otherwise impinge upon students’ ability to…

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How America helped ruin English reading instruction…with some help from the Germans.

If in England, the development of a system of teaching reading to the masses was a historic catalogue of failure then in America, the situation was no dif
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National Literacy Trust’s Annual Survey Reveals That A Writing For Pleasure Pedagogy Is Needed Now More Than Ever. | literacyforpleasure

The headline from this year’s National Literacy Trust’s survey into young people’s attitudes towards writing is unsurprising but increasingly concerning.

For a number of years now we have used the trust’s annual survey, which focuses on responses from over 40,000 apprentice writers, to make the case for a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy.

Throughout these years, we have seen that young people have either an indifference or a dislike for writing but this year it has climbed to over 50%. We also have 40% of children who only ever write when they have to. This is quite staggering.


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Homework | Phonics and Books

I’ve seen homework from all sides now– as a child, as a teacher and now as a parent– and I have to confess I grow less and less sure that there is any value in homework at Primary School level.

My own memories of homework are of learning spellings, doing comprehensions which I found incredibly dull and pages of maths calculations (also very dull). As well as this I had endless ‘What did you do in the holidays?’ type projects, which only became exciting the summer my little brother was born, and then I really wanted to write all about that.

Broadly speaking you get three types of homework…

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