The similar-looking word test

Clients who seem to read well, but spell poorly, are often referred to our service.

Their word-level reading is rarely as good as it seems. While they’re reading connected text, they’re relying on their oral language skills to help them identify the words. Take the supporting context away, by asking them to read lists of words, and they’re usually much less accurate. Their pseudoword decoding/word attack is also often quite weak.

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The Australian Curriculum Version 9.0

Prompted by an interesting Radio National interview with ACARA CEO David de Carvalho, I’ve been trying to get my head around early literacy in version 9.0 of the Australian Curriculum. It’s a definite improvement on previous versions, so WELL DONE to all those who argued for evidence-based practice, sorry I was too busy swimming through COVID-related mud to help.

My main interest is in the English strand for Foundation to Year 2, the vital learning-to-spell-and-decode years. Have predictable texts, multicueing and rote-memorisation of high-frequency wordlists finally been dumped? How specific is it about which phonemic awareness, phonics and morphology knowledge/skills to teach in the first three years? What does it say about spelling?

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The Education Research Reading Room podcast

I’ve just been listening to the latest episode of Ollie Lovell’s Education Research Reading Room (ERRR) podcast, the back catalogue of which is such a magnificent, free professional learning resource for teachers and others in education.

Ollie is a maths/science teacher and researcher here in Melbourne, but he’s brimming with curiosity and enthusiasm about education more generally, and always finds interesting people to interview, and asks them interesting questions.

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Phonics With Feeling Set 10 now available

I’ve just put six brand new Set 10 Phonics With Feeling printable decodable readers into the Spelfabet website shop. Like all these books, they cost 40c per print to make 5 copies, or 20c per print to make 30 copies. You provide the paper/card, printer and assembly time, which of course adds to the real cost, but if you’re short of funds, these are a very affordable way to boost your library of decodable text.

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What sounds did you SAY (not just hear) in that word?

If you haven’t listened to the US Reading League’s podcast with Dr Jeannine Herron, or watched it on YouTube, I highly recommend it. She’s an inspiration, the perfect tonic if you’re feeling a bit wearied by swimming-through-COVID-mud, as I am.

At 84, she has a wonderful laugh, rogue chickens, and is planning to write a new program, not resting on her life’s laurels as a teacher, activist, research scientist, adventurer, writer, editor, and a program and software developer.

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New printable decodable books, including an extra free one

To celebrate the removal of predictable texts and multicueing from the Australian National Curriculum (yippee!), more Phonics with Feeling printable decodable books are now available from the Spelfabet website.

These provide an affordable way to help Year 1 and 2 students, advanced Foundation students, and slightly older strugglers to build decoding skills. They are longer than most decodable books, allowing for cohesive narratives, entertaining plots, engaging characters, and themes worth talking about.

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New 2 ways to spell vowels cards, including a free deck

Some students need smaller-than-average steps and extra practice to get spelling patterns into long-term memory. Games are a great, nag-free way to get in lots of targeted, extra repetitions.

The newest set of download-and-print Spelfabet phonics playing cards has 14 decks, each with one vowel sound spelt two ways, and includes a free sample deck:

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