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,...

How Early Readers Learn Fast Phonics Without Phonic Books

July 28, 2016 2:15 pm Published by

An interesting article appeared in the Daily Mail of 18 July 2016. Eleanor Harding quotes a report from the charity Save the Children. It underscores what I have worked hard to promote for so many years. Learning does not begin at school. Learning begins way before, in fact, soon after birth. Your child learns every moment it is awake, and what it learns is up to you. When you recite, read, and sing songs and nursery rhymes you are formally educating your child. Eleanor Harding’s article quotes from the Save the Children’s report that the result of this parent/child interaction will affect a child’s education right through school and into the world of work. It follows that if this time,...

Bright Children and Fast Phonics – One Mother’s Story

July 17, 2016 4:30 pm Published by

Oh dear, the first episode of Child Genius and already the metaphorical guns are out and taking aim. ”Poor kids,” I was told, ”bullied and pushed into achieving,” they said, ”child cruelty” and the one I personally dislike, ”let kids be kids.” Emily Martin of the Cambridge News of 16 July 2016 calls it, ‘Channel 4’s sanitised version of the Hunger Games.’ Sorry Emily but you just do not understand bright children. Children will always be children and bright children automatically turn learning into a game. Extremely bright children love learning. They sop up facts, dates, figures – anything and everything their wonderful brains encounter, while still being children. My own son never spoke until age three due to constant...

How Clever Parents Speed Up Maths

July 4, 2016 2:25 pm Published by

Number? Well, yes. Once upon a time there was simple addition, multiplication, division and subtraction. We all learned these drills and the easy methods to carry them out. By the time we left school we may not have been too hot on simultaneous equations, or applying Pythagoras but our very basic drills were set in stone. Then hoved into view the ‘experts.’ They changed old methods to ‘simplify’ them for slow learners. But, big problems arose. As I have said many times, parents provide the golden element in their child’s education. They are the people who deal with homework, parents shine a light into those dark, fearsome corners of a child’s misunderstanding. New maths, however, is simply not understood by...

My Journey to an MBE with Phonics

June 20, 2016 11:52 am Published by Leave your thoughts

I have never liked cliches but an apt one does spring to mind ‘my journey’ to an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours has certainly been long – 57 years, but, above all it has been wonderful and fruitful. So many children, so many tearful mums with the same story, ”Johnny’s teacher has said he’s useless.” Each child was a human being, with a life and future to fulfil. That was when the ‘magic’ happened. A handful of phonics, time, patience, love and every child became a reader. And for every little reader the world of knowledge opened up. He/she could now read the questions in maths, the information in science and could read and comprehend English. Each child became a...

How Did Grammar and Punctuation Get Worse?

June 6, 2016 1:23 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

From the mid 1960s, rules of grammar and punctuation were deemed pedantic and even unnecessary. When I asked a child to write a sentence with a verb and Johnny/Susie wrote, ”I were going to the circus with me mum and me sister,” it was not to be corrected. After all, the child had grasped the ideas of ‘sentence’ and ‘verb’. He should not be burdened with the pressures of grammar. Spelling was still near-enough-is-good-enough and red pen became an evil element that would scar a child’s self esteem and ergo, his social and emotional future. Of course, at base level, teaching became a doddle, child’s play. Teachers’ knowledge of grammar and punctuation became sketchy and marking was reduced to a...