Talisman Card games win Primary Teacher Award! | Tami Reis-Frankfort

Talisman Card Games 11-20 have just been awarded a silver award from Primary Teacher.  These are beautifully illustrated card games that not only develop reading skills, but social skills too.  The Primary Teacher award gets teachers to try out and test products in their classrooms.  These games are a favourite with students and now teachers have given them their thumbs up too!


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What is the ‘Matthew effect’ when it comes to reading instruction? | Tami Reis-Frankfort

What is ‘The Matthew effect’ when it comes to reading instruction?

This idea (muted by Keith Stanovich) is that children who learn to read in the first three years of their education become fluent readers. They read more, learn more vocabulary which then enables them to read more and comprehend more advanced texts and so they advance further.

The children who fail to learn to read, read less, are less fluent, have a poorer vocabulary, comprehend less and the gap just keeps on growing. It is the principle of ‘The rich get richer and the poor get poorer’.

This is why is essential that all…

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‘Sound Snap’ – a fun way to teach ‘precise pronunciation’ | Tami Reis-Frankfort

I have just started to teach a struggling reader  in Year 1.  The first thing I observed from my assessment was that she did not use ‘pure phonic sounds’, also known as ‘precise pronunciation’.  Many of the consonants were pronounced with an added ‘uh’  sound:  /k/ was pronounced ‘kuh’;  /p/ was pronounced ‘puh’, etc.  This is curious, as synthetic phonics is taught in the school.

Why is this important to correct?  Precise pronunciation makes it easier to blend sounds into recognisable words.  If you try to blend the sounds /p/ /a/ /t/ into a word but pronounce the phonemes ‘puh-a-tuh’ – it…

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Should we label deprived children as less able? | Tami Reis-Frankfort

Is it dangerous to assume that a child who has not had parental input is less able?  Are we setting low expectations from the very beginning?

Quirky Teacher presents some important arguments about making assumptions about pupil ability in Early Years assessment.
It’s as if the parents don’t exist

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What is Balanced Literacy? | Tami Reis-Frankfort

When asked how they teach reading, many teachers pride themselves that they are teaching ‘balanced literacy’ in their classroom.  This idea seems to imply that they are covering all the approaches their pupils may need to learn to read.  But what is ‘balanced literacy?’ Can it be defined or measured?

Read this article by Professor Pamela Snow.  She explains the problems with using ‘balanced literacy’ as a teaching approach especially with children who are lagging behind.


The post What is Balanced Literacy?…

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Should ‘alien words’ be part of the Year 1 Phonics Check? | Tami Reis-Frankfort

It is that time of year again and the Year 1 Phonics Check is looming.  It will take place this year during the week commencing June 12th.

There had been a lot of criticism about the check in general but specifically about the nonsense, ‘alien words’ in the check that children are asked to decode.  So why are the ‘alien words’ there? What is their purpose?  Do they tell us anything more about the reading skilla of the child than a real word would?

Here is a post that I wrote some time ago which explains why the ‘alien words’ are in the Year 1 Phonics Check….

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How to teach reading and spelling with the Smart Chute | Tami Reis-Frankfort

It is really important to teach reading and spelling together so that children can see that reading is decoding letters into sounds and spelling is encoding sounds into letters. In short, they are reverse activities. This way children learn how the English language alphabetic code actually works. It also means that from the beginning, children will use the best graphemes they know (best approximation) to spell words they want to write.

I have found the Smart Chute a really useful multi-sensory resource with struggling readers and spellers. Here is how I use this resource to teach a new…

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