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...

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,...

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...

Bright Kids Can Win Despite Their Parents

May 22, 2016 3:53 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Two events occurred in the last few weeks, juxtaposed events that speak volumes. Firstly a teenager I know was invited to spend a week or so teaching in Africa. Other teens had described to me their disbelief when they had, on their first visit, seen how several family members would share one uniform, getting a day or a half day’s learning a week. Often they walked miles to and from school, so highly prized is education. The second thing that happened was a newspaper trumpeted the success of a father winning his battle to extend his child’s holiday into term-time in order to get cheaper travel. This ‘good news’ was duly passed around Facebook as as a ‘Yippee’ ruling. How...