Here’s the video of my LDA webinar on spelling logic

10 Replies

About 400 people had signed up to attend the webinar I presented for Learning Difficulties Australia on Wednesday called “English spelling has five kinds of logic”, but sadly, the LDA Zoom account locked all but 100 people out. I’m so sorry about that, I didn’t even realise till the end.

Anyway, here’s the video, so you can watch it at your leisure. Sorry I say “um” so much! Below the video is a list of some of the resources I’ve found useful for online therapy sessions targeting spelling, reading and related skills (including irregular verbs, which someone asked about), since I couldn’t fit as much practical stuff into the webinar as I had hoped.

If you have feedback or questions, or any great online teaching/therapy resource tips, please leave a comment.

Useful resources for online learning/therapy during COVID-19

Black Sheep Press has lots of downloadable speech and language activities, including on irregular past tense here and here. There are also apps like Past Tense with Splingo, and the Toddlers Seek & Find apps let you make something fun happen then discuss it. The ELR resources are another option for all kinds of online language activities.

Speech Pathologists needing articulation materials, try the Pottstown Schools website.

Good luck, stay well, and remember when life gives you lemons, you can make lemon tart, lemon curd, avgolemono, lemon butter, lemon delicious…(I’m not much into lemonade).

PS Don’t miss Emily Hanford’s latest, again-excellent report “What the words say”.


10 responses to “Here’s the video of my LDA webinar on spelling logic”

  1. Alison, thanks for the work you do in this space and your generosity with sharing your skills and resources. I have been using word wall a lot with online lessons – this kids love to compete! Your collection of games there will be a big help. It’s hard to find the time to keep adding new activities!

    • alison says:

      Hi Jane, thanks for the nice feedback, I agree, telehealth is more time-consuming, I’m hoping that as I get better at it that changes and I do have more time to make stuff.

  2. Sherry Clink says:

    Before I learned about David Kilpatrick, before I studied Louisa Moats, before I joined The Reading League (US), it was Alison Clarke who rocked my reading and language-teaching world. (Myself being one of those teachers whose Masters degree program did not teach science of reading.)
    Watching this video, I am going full circle, as I’m in the process of taking the Phono-Graphix certification course. It was one of many programs listed in Kilpatrick’s “Essentials” book, and has seemed like a good idea, especially for English Language Learners who find learning rules by rote particularly onerous, but I am now both overjoyed and reassured to see it specifically being used by my very first guru!
    Aside from thanks, let me add a useful resource for decodable materials that are available free online. They are U.S.-based sounds, but texts are lengthier than many, attractively illustrated, and include free associated curriculums that equate to U.S. grades K-2. (The sound sequences are helpfully located in the back of the texts, if you want a quick way to check.) Go to and search on decodable text.

    • alison says:

      Hi Sherry, thanks for the lovely feedback, I assure you I’m no guru, just someone like you trying to equip myself to do my job well, make sense of what’s going on for struggling readers and get the system to change so there are fewer of them in future. Thanks for the tip re decodable materials, I will take a look now. I have mainly focussed on materials written in non-rhotic accents like mine on my website, as our vowels are very different, and the US market is so huge I didn’t really know where to start. But now heaps of the people visiting my site are from the US so I am learning more about resources from your side of the Pacific. Hope you’re staying well and safe, we are in Stage 4 lockdown here, at this rate I might even get my website a bit more up to date. Alison

  3. Louise Fitzpatrick Leach says:

    Hi Alison, thanks for your continuing helpful blogs and information. I have done the free Sounds Write course you had in your list of resources but I was wondering if there is a guide for preschool teachers to help with how to introduce the sounds and letters that represent them, and how to make this fun – suitable for 4 year olds. I feel as if I am floundering sometimes, and don’t want to muck them up. Thanks.

    • alison says:

      Hi Louise, if I were the boss of the education system and I knew kids would get Sounds-Write or something similar in Foundation, I’d say “don’t try to teach preschoolers any code-related skills beyond early blending and segmenting, awareness of rhyme and rhythm, just focus on speaking and listening, social skills and cooperation, play, learning about the world and of course all the non-language-related stuff that preschool teachers do”. However, I know there is probably an expectation from parents and schools and your employer that kids will learn about letters too. The Reading Rockets website has quite a lot of helpful information, though they list “developmental milestones” for literacy when it is not a developmental skill, it’s a learnt one. But anyway their ideas are probably about the best way to prepare kids for a school system that still often uses repetitive texts, multicueing and rote-memorisation of high-frequency words with beginners. I think your class is very lucky to have you as they’ll probably all be able to read simple texts before they start school, so there’s less of a chance that any of them will get the wrong idea about the nature of our writing system and end up in trouble. Reading Rockets’ info about preschool is here All the very best, Alison

  4. Thank you, Alison! Very informative as always 🙂

  5. Lee says:

    Pardon this long-winded posted but…

    THANK YOU so much for sharing your knowledge! It makes me want to change careers haha

    I have found your site so useful in my work as a teacher when teaching my students to read. I saw positive results when I taught my kindergarten kids (of two terms) explicitly, with no semantic guessing games. (My program said “L3″on paper but I abandoned it altogether!)

    Having read so much of what you’ve posted, I feel like I’m either in the wrong school, the wrong system, or the wrong profession altogether. A couple years ago, at a school I worked at, I was delighted to find out that they were using the Department’s funding for decodable readers. However, to my absolute dismay, these readers were locked away in the supervisor’s office, “only to be used for struggling readers” and only with permission. I was studying postgrad TESOL at the time and challenged them that the three cueing system won’t work for ESL students if they are still learning English. I proposed that asking a child “does that make sense?” after an error, is futile. Their response was “surely they would recognise if it doesn’t make sense.”

    While I could understand and apply the research and science, or specialise in a teaching field (TESOL) which is what I did, the mere fact that I only have four years of experience with limited track record gives me no credibility in my field when I challenge a “more experienced” teacher’s thinking in terms of reading. I’m literally going against the tide, at least in my current workplace.

    I’m hoping “experienced teachers” in positions of authority will listen to “experienced speech pathologists” like yourself. Holding out for a change ….

    • alison says:

      Hi Lee, thanks for the lovely feedback, sorry to hear you’re meeting resistance but I guess all major changes are difficult for the people who are comfortable with existing practices, and anyone who benefits from them significantly will fight to retain them. However, I think there is a sea change under way in literacy education now, there are so many groups springing up and people blogging and reaching out and supporting each other, so I’m pretty sure the science of reading will win out, we just have to stick at it. Speech pathologists can be a little sidelined in the educational project (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to work in a uniform cupboard, laundry, hallway or sick bay, or wherever else teachers were not using at the time) so I think we’ll know we are closer to success when senior teachers really start speaking out and taking the lead in arguing for practice that is backed up by science. All the best, your students are lucky to have you! Alison

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