I am a trained primary teacher with many years experience in teaching young children to read particularly in ESL and low socio-economic settings.
Having used the whole language approach with its ‘cueing systems’ for many years, I became dissatisfied with its lack of clear guidance in teaching phonics.
In 2008, whilst ‘googling’ I stumbled on to the current scientific research on reading and spelling. There was a plethora of new knowledge about how the brain learns to read. Knowledge which we in the teaching profession had not been alerted to!!
Armed with this stimulating new knowledge, I switched to a phonics first approach, namely ‘synthetic phonics’ which means ‘synthesising’ or blending the sounds/graphemes to read words.
When I adopted this explicit, sequential instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics as the foundation for teaching my students to read, I found that the results were remarkable, with substantial improvements in the children’s abilities in reading, writing, vocabulary, comprehending and enjoyment of literature.
I wrote these stories for my class of Preps and Grade 1’s when I stumbled on to the research, because those predictable stories we had in the school just weren’t going to cut it anymore.
Guessing and predicting words from pictures and context is not reading!!
What a difference synthetic phonics made to my students’ literacy skills!
You can watch me tell my story here:
I am also kept busy working with Maureen Pollard of Little Learners Love
Literacy-writing Pip and Tim stories, developing resources and educating teachers and parents.