Tutors plus Phonics are a Brilliant Equation

August 20, 2018 1:20 pm Published by

On this occasion let me dispel some myths regarding tutors. Firstly that only the wealthy can afford them. Nonsense, for most of my sixty year career in tutoring I never charged a penny but succeeded in teaching, via the magical phonic sounds, numerous children to read. Secondly, that tutors are used mainly to advance bright children beyond their peer groups. This, you are asked to believe, is to enable those already achieving children to scoop prizes by enhancing their results and to win places at top sixth form colleges and Russell Group universities. Wrong! My tutoring over all these years has never included bright children wanting to be brighter. I have, however, had extremely clever children who have missed out...

The Smart Way to Teach Tables

May 2, 2018 4:15 pm Published by

As a fairly firm traditionalist I rejoice in today’s acceptance, albeit grudgingly, that old methods do work. One of the most disturbing elements in the classroom over the past 50 years has been the arrangement of tables. In most cases up to ten children are sitting with their backs to the teacher. No eye contact and scant attention to a lesson unless the child opts to physically move his chair and tune in. Recent studies have proved that formal rows, with chalk and talk front of class teaching, produces formidably excellent results and is favoured by many successful schools. What is more these schools, frequently with a policy of strict discipline, can provide a quiet and structured atmosphere. This both...

Is Stress Really a Fashion Statement?

July 24, 2017 3:47 pm Published by

Stress. Pressure. No longer the effects of extreme and unbearable suffering like fire, flood and earthquake but reduced now to buzz words, cliches. Children are stressed, business men and women are pressured, teachers, doctors, shop assistants, holiday makers, models, dogs, cats and horses – all stressed. All under such demanding pressure they barely cope. And yet so many people endured two world wars, lived with the constant threat of bombs dropping on schools, homes and places of work. They fed their families on pitiful rations, scrimped for clothes, had inadequate heating and lived day after day with the news of the death of yet another family member or friend. Were they stressed? Were they pressured? Yes of course they were...

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,...

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,...