Category Archives: literacy

Is our behaviour a choice?

Arguments about free will date back to ancient Greece, but the scientific consensus now tends towards the belief that free will is an illusion. It’s become an article of faith in the life

Can phonics help us spell better?

Children’s author and high-profile opponent of phonics instruction, Michael Rosen recently wrote this blog casting doubt on the idea that learning phonics could help people spell. He was writing in response to an

Reading difficulty is a teaching problem not an intelligence problem

Education is a technology that tries to make up for what the human mind is innately bad at. Children don’t have to go to school to learn how to walk, talk, recognize

Scaffolding: what we can learn from the metaphor

Pretty much everyone agrees scaffolding students’ work is a ‘good thing’. Whenever they get stuck we leap in with our trusty writing frames and help them get going. A good writing frame

Slow Writing at #researchED primary literacy conference

Here are the slides I used during my researchED presentation on Slow Writing (including some we didn’t get around to looking at due to my rambling incoherence.) If you want to read

What to do about literacy

Over the last couple of years I’ve visited over 100 schools and practically none of them have got literacy right. Now obviously I only get asked to talk to schools who feel

Closing the language gap: Building vocabulary

But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew, upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. Lord Byron Like most teachers, as soon as

Negative framing and No Pens Days

The framing effect is an example of cognitive bias, in which our reactions to a choice depend on whether it is presented as a loss or a gain. Our tendency is to avoid risks

Back to school Part 3: Literacy

This series of #backtoschool blogs summarises much of my thinking as it’s developed over the past few years and is aimed at new or recently qualified teachers. Each area has been distilled to 5 ‘top

A reblog: Teachers: show your working

I know it’s pretty cheap to reblog a post which sings your praises (and to be fair, I don’t do it much) but this evaluation of a session on The Secret of

Reading ability: nature or nurture?

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Matthew, 13:12 The Matthew Effect

Revisiting Slow Writing – how slowing writing might speed up thinking

Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast. Shakespeare It’s been a while since I first wrote about Slow Writing and in that time it’s rather taken on a life of its own.