Welcome to this independent, fad-free and no-nonsense website.
The site includes plenty of well proven, practical advice and information for any parent (or grandparent) whose children need help with the basics of reading, writing and spelling. Primary teachers, SENCos, tutors for adult basic skills, in fact anyone involved with the teaching of early reading, or reading intervention, should find the content useful.
Systematic *synthetic phonics is the evidence-based method recommended by the UK government for the teaching of early reading. Though not a simple panacea, it is usually extremely effective when taught by teachers who are keen, committed and knowledgeable about the subject. Synthetic phonics was also recommended by Sir Jim Rose (Rose 2006 para153), and the UK government for use in the waves/tiers of intervention (DfES 2007.PNS). Go to synthetic phonics to find more about this common-sense way to teach reading and spelling.
Reading ability is based on two major, essential, interacting but different components: phonics decoding ability x language comprehension.
A page on this website provides information on elective home education (known as homeschooling in the USA) but I must emphasise that this is not an anti-school site. The content is simply the knowledge that I wish I'd had 'at my fingertips' many years ago when I first realised that my youngest son was having serious difficulties learning to read.
The website is an on-going project and the content is subject to constant revision. New information and weblinks are added regularly, much of it challenging to conventional and established beliefs concerning dyslexia and the teaching of reading.
*Synthetic, in this case, doesn't mean artificial or plastic, it means 'blend together'; beginning readers are taught to read words by saying a phoneme for each grapheme and then blending (synthesising) the phonemes all-through-the-written-word to arrive at a pronunciation for the whole word.
Newly retired specialist reading tutor
Reading Reform Foundation member www.rrf.org.uk
Mum to three, grandma to four.
Synthetic phonics is the educational vaccine that protects children from illiteracy.
Look out for the links and resources marked X throughout the website if you are a (prospective) student teacher.
X Professor Diane McGuinness: The Principles that Teachers Need to Follow when Teaching Reading.
X The English Alphabet Code - a comprehensive chart designed for student teachers but suitable for anyone wanting a visual resource to learn about the Code and an outline of synthetic phonics teaching (see chart's side bar) Includes the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbols.
X Ruth Miskin looks at what schools need to do to ensure children both learn to read and keep reading
X 'Six myths about dyslexia' Think you know about dyslexia? Think again, says Susan Godsland'' - scroll down the link to read my SEN Magazine article at www.rrf.org.uk/docs/SEN49_Dyslexia_myths.pdf
Did you know that many intervention programmes for children struggling with reading and basic skills programmes for adult non-readers consist, mostly, of activities that will not help them to learn to read and write? "A lot of existing approaches are founded on lies. There's no scientific evidence for their efficacy" (Phil Beadle. SundayTimes 20/07/08) See- What NOT to do
''There is an established, and very rewarding, dyslexia industry. There is considerable academic and commercial vested interest. There seem to be as many aetiologies for (causes for or origins of) dyslexia as there are researchers into it, give or take, and as many wonderfully special assessment methods, remedial schemes, dedicated schools and distinguished gurus as the market will carry'' (Kerr p89) See - Room 101
X Throughout this website, a book frequently referenced is 'Early Reading Instruction: what science really tells us about how to teach reading' by Diane McGuinness. I strongly recommend that you get hold of a copy (available for Kindle too) in order to check the references and more extensive reading on the subject.
Dyslexics.org.uk is recommended by Oxford Brookes University on its Primary Education course as a website, ''to support knowledge and understanding of other Phonic Programmes & Teaching Phonics''. http://resourcelists.brookes.ac.uk/modules/u71272.html
''If you are interested in the battles over phonics, veterans of the battle, along with lots of good practice, can be found on the Reading Reform Foundation website. It is also worth looking at the information on http://www.dyslexics.org.uk/'', writes teacher and blogger 'Old Andrew'
''My own conceptions of dyslexia are completely wrong - along with the vast majority of the people that I know, both professional educators, research educators, and of course both parents and individuals categorised as dyslexics. My springboard into this is the fantastic site http://www.dyslexics.org.uk. Go right to the source here. In a nutshell dyslexia means: You can't read!'' 'E.rubecula' has a PhD in Psychology.
N.B. This website has NO political or religious affiliations.
I have NO commercial connection with any literacy programme or educational product.
All the practical information on this website regarding the use of synthetic phonics in the classroom has come from highly experienced teachers and trainers. Thank you Elizabeth, Debbie, Jim, Marlynne, John, Jenny, Maggie, Ruth, Phil, Lesley and everyone else I've quoted.