How Neat Writing Helps Fast Phonics on its Way

February 20, 2017 4:44 pm Published by

Recently it was reported that parents are going back to school, not to begin or complete degrees, but for an even better reason. They want to catch up with their children. Education has changed, it has leapt forward dramatically in an effort to repair the damage of past years. During those years I taught English to Italian and Spanish teenagers who could spot an adverbial, define a gerund, write a perfect complex sentence and parse it with ease. Their knowledge of our language was astounding while our teenagers had barely progressed beyond the very basic nouns and verbs. As we move forward to catch up, parents are feeling left behind. Well done those mums and dads who, instead of complaining...

Can a Three Year Old Read with Fast Phonics?

January 20, 2017 10:24 am Published by

Time gentlemen please! No, I’m not referring to pub closing but, more accurately, to the closing of the school time table. Schools were actively teaching small groups of children in Greek and Roman days, but schools, as we know them, date from around the 16th century. From earliest times the basic idea has been to educate children in the 3Rs – Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Today we can look back on vast numbers of architects,scientist, judges, poets, mathematicians, and all the great and wonderful thinkers who have emerged to lead the world, all educated under the 3R system. It has worked extraordinarily well, until now. More and more frequently strident pressure groups are demanding their own politics du jour become...

How Games and Fast Phonics Help Early Readers

December 18, 2016 6:44 pm Published by

After a hiatus of 4 weeks I am back. While Grammar Schools continue to divide political parties, such reasons being given by nay-sayers are not even remotely near the mark. Their argument centres mainly on the fact that bright pupils from the community are needed to form the top stratum of Comprehensives/Academies. They claim those very bright children will inspire the slower pupils to achieve. Of course this is nonsense. Our country needs its bright minds and those bright minds, indubitably, develop and flower more vividly at Grammar Schools. These establishments give clever children from poor backgrounds an opportunity to reach the top fruit on life’s tree. Grammars have teachers as committed to excellence and attendance as those found at...

How to Help Fast Phonics on its Way

November 11, 2016 3:55 pm Published by

From the Times Educational Supplement of 5 November 2016, the headline: ‘Schoolgirls suffer in silence about their struggle to read.’ Leaving aside the emotive verb ‘suffer,’ more accurately applied to children in war zones, the writer is referring to the fact children, apparently girls in particular, thanks to phonics can now read every word but not comprehend every word. As my readers will know I have trumpeted phonics for 57 years, but in today’s parlance it is a no-brainer that phonic excellence goes hand in hand with dictionary skills. I would have assumed any school worth its salt would be providing dictionaries/iPads to enable their pupils to achieve excellence in both text understanding and analysis, plus word knowledge. In fact,...

Clever Parents Play Games to Help Early Readers

October 17, 2016 5:01 pm Published by

I have always felt games provide the best way of teaching children, especially if the concept involved is fairly abstract. When my son was tiny, back in the sixties, we used to play a game which, though simplistic in nature, provided him with an excellent lesson for the future. The biscuit tin game involved placing a biscuit tin on the kitchen table (often he would fetch it himself in anticipation of playing the game). We would sit on either side of the table and he would describe the tin he could see – it had two lambs and some roses. I would tell him my tin had a shepherd and a dog on the side. We’d hmm and hah, roll...

The How the What and the Why of Fast Phonics

October 1, 2016 4:39 pm Published by

School scraps homework, ‘to help staff plan their lessons.’ And there was I believing teenagers were the ‘snowflake generation.’ I make no apology for believing this to be one huge cop-out. Teachers have good jobs, well paid, secure and by and large, undemanding, while at the same time providing enormous job-satisfaction. They also have perhaps the most generous holidays of any profession. Even their in-service training is carried out in school time as an adjunct to their holiday break. And now the principal of a very large school (1650 pupils) has called time on homework. The reason? Marking homework was taking up too much time for staff. She thinks her teachers need more time to plan lessons. As teachers we...

The Who the Where and the When of Fast Phonics

September 21, 2016 6:48 pm Published by

Last week it was reported nationally that schools should be alerting children to on-line porn. Today Sophie Jamieson reports in the London Daily Telegraph that ‘five million adults lack basic reading, writing and numeracy skills,’ and that ‘the traditional 3Rs are in decline in the UK.’ Could there be a correlation between last week’s report and today’s? Of course there is very much a correlation. If we continue to remove chunks from the teaching day for socio-political issues vital though these issues may be, then of course, the time left for subjects like reading, writing and maths is further diluted. Now, reading. We’ll turn our attention to long vowels. The vowels in our language are a e i o u...

How Fast Phonics Helps Teenage Exam Success

September 2, 2016 1:35 pm Published by

A level results are out and as either exhilarated fulfilment or deep regret overcome crowds of 18 year olds, weary parents are marvelling at how fast the years have sped by. Their four year old Reception newbies are off to university. With dedicated far sighted planning your child, either about to start school or on the way through school, can be among those congratulating themselves when the time arrives. How is your teaching coming along? Are you making sure you enjoy the games and the success as much as your child? We progress to the next step and now embrace the first real phonics. Write each sound in red felt pen on a white file card, explain them and set...

How to Beat Exam Blues the Fast Phonics Way

August 18, 2016 3:50 pm Published by

”Come one, come all!” the barkers yell and crowds flock, drowned in the colour, the noise and the pizazz of the fair. What a shame we can’t do that with reading and yet the final rewards are not just hoop-la prizes or cheap fluffy toys, they are life-changing skills and, for small children, will establish a happy, confident and secure childhood and future. Let us proceed with the next step. Following the sound alphabet and those few sight words, your child can easily read: ‘ ”It is a beautiful little pup,” she told Jed. ”Can you let it come to my house? I can be kind to him and let him nap in the sun on your old rug.” ‘...

How Phonic Sounds Boost Early Childhood Literacy

August 6, 2016 2:14 pm Published by

You have seen how simple it is to begin your child’s reading future. Let us examine the next easy step. When he can easily read. ‘Ben and Pip put rags, pegs, hats, figs, mugs and maps in a bag and jump on it.’ Now add the following sight words. You, the, they, I, me, no, little,your,we, beautiful, come, go, to, be she, saw, my, house, was, do, for, he. Twenty-two words which are excellent link words but which, in the main, cannot be sounded. Treat them as you did the letters of the alphabet. Each should be printed clearly in red felt pen on white filing cards. An excellent way to learn the words is to hold up each card,...