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 teaching the English Alphabet Code within a broad and language-rich curriculum. 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 essential, interacting but different components: phonics decoding ability x language comprehension (vocabulary and back-ground knowledge)
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.
Retired specialist reading tutor
Honorary member of the Reading Reform Foundation committee.
International Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction (IFERI) committee member www.iferi.org
Mum to three, grandma to four, wife to John for 40+ years.
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.
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
PGCE Primary English course as a website, ''to
support knowledge and understanding of other phonic programmes and teaching
Sir Jim Rose describes the Dyslexics.org.uk website as,
‘'Very impressive. It is a hugely valuable
resource for keeping up-to-date with developments in teaching phonics and other
''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'
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,
David, Susan S. and everyone else I've quoted.