Teachers doing “Balanced Literacy” programs often think they are doing a lot of phonics, and we should all get off their case. One academic commented recently that this is probably because nobody has ever given them an opportunity to see or use a proper synthetic phonics program.
Getting an opportunity to show busy early years teachers a program like this is tricky, and the information is much better coming from a fellow teacher than a speech pathologist like me. The Get Reading Right free webinars for teachers have thus been great, but they’ve run at a specific time, and you’ve had to sign in, which has probably limited their audience.
However, I’ve just realised that GRR (top marks for acronyms!) has put a recent webinar containing an overview of synthetic phonics, with examples from their program, on YouTube. Anyone can watch it any time, without any logging in.
Yes, they are marketing their program, but talking entirely in the abstract is tricky and removes the practical element. There are a few things in their program that I’d probably do slightly differently (working on sounds without letters? I must take that up with them), but compared with Balanced Literacy their program is fantastic. I’m sure I’d have a lot fewer referrals if the struggling readers on my caseload had started off doing a program like this. Anyway, I hope all teachers of Balanced Literacy will at least take a look. Here’s the video (skip through the first 90 seconds of webinar administrivia):