Cognitive Load Theory and Reading Instruction


Cognitive Load Theory helps explain why the reading progress of some students is slower than expected. Once the theory ‘clicks’ for you, your teaching will change – for the better! Teacher Shirley Houston takes teachers through the theory and practical applications of Cognitive Load. A must-read for every teacher.

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Catching Up on Phonics After Lockdown


What a year! Teachers across the planet are currently taking stock of the effect of school closures on children’s literacy. Many students who ordinarily would be reaching benchmarks are sadly not. Shirley Houston shares her top five tips for catching up on phonics – quickly!

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Teaching Handwriting: A Phonics Perspective


Teachers agree that handwriting is critical, even in a digital age. But what does the research say about its relationship with phonics? Santina, a primary school teacher, explores how handwriting fits alongside a phonics program and offers some multi-sensory activities to use in your classroom.

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When to Teach Letter Names


When is the right time to introduce letter names? Is it in pre-school with the alphabet song or when phonics is done and dusted? Teacher Shirley Houston pinpoints the sweet spot.

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Phonics Easter Egg Hunt


Give your Easter Egg Hunt a phonics twist by decoding the clues to find the chocolate treats. We’ve made the cards and done the thinking; all you need to do is the hiding (and maybe a bit of munching)!

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Phonics Treasure Hunt


Download our Phonics Treasure Hunt Cards. Perfect for those who are currently home schooling – children can practise their decoding and, because they can use them independently, parents will get some well-deserved peace!

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The Home Readers Gap


How do you get students to start reading at home before they’re ready for decodable books? Teacher Stephanie Brighton shares her school’s simple, effective (and pocket-sized) solution to bridging the home reading gap, complete with free print-outs.

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The 12 Days of Phonics


Phonics Hero CEO, Katherine Wood, shares her favourite phonics activities to keep up childrens’ progress during the Christmas holidays with downloadable worksheets, creative ideas, and resources for parents of budding readers.

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How to Teach Tricky Words



Tricky words, like ‘the’ and ‘was’, often trip up teachers and students with their rare spelling choices. Shirley Houston explains tricky words, the steps to teach them systematically and explicitly, and offers ideas and free resources to put this into practice.


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Getting the Most out of Phonics Hero


High levels of engagement and using Phonics Hero continuously throughout the year are the key to success. Account Manager, Michelle Haines, takes you through her top tips on how you can ensure everyone is using, loving and achieving fantastic results with Phonics Hero.

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How to Teach a Child to Read with Phonics

How do you teach a child to read at home? After creating Phonics Hero, the pressure was on for our CEO, Katherine, when it was time to teach her own child to read!

Katherine takes parents through her personal journey of teaching her daughter how to read. She describes how she applied the 5 critical steps: rhyming, introducing sounds, oral blending, using phonics to read the first words and finally, practising to make perfect!

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Helping the Blending Penny Drop!


Blending is a crucial skill that every child needs to start reading unknown words. If a child can’t blend – they are going to struggle with reading. Teacher Santina explains blending, how to teach it and how to support children for whom the blending penny is not dropping.

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How to Use Decodable Books


Decodable books/readers are a firm favourite in the UK and are slowly inching their way into Australian and US classrooms. Primary school teacher and phonics trainer, Santina DiMauro, gives teachers a step-by-step guide on how to use decodable books in the classroom.

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The Parents Phonics Presentation You Need!


Even with all the enthusiasm in the world, if you don’t know the fundamentals of synthetic phonics, you will trip yourself, and more importantly your child, up in learning to read. Our CEO takes parents through what they need to know to support their child. Look out for the free PowerPoint for teachers to use.

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Oral Blending and Segmenting – Before Letters, There Were Sounds!


The best teachers of reading start by teaching oral blending and segmenting skills first: lessening the cognitive load on children and making the leap to reading and spelling with letters all the easier! 

Learning support teacher, Shirley Houston, explains oral blending and segmenting and gives you the step-by-step ‘how to’.  Plus, you’ll find heaps of free resources included! 


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How to Teach Vowel Teams


Vowel teams are probably the most common source of reading and spelling errors as one vowel sound may be represented by as many as 6 different vowel teams. Teacher Shirley Houston breaks down the vowel teams and how to teach them!

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The Phonics Check: Who, What, Where, How…


The Phonics Check is controversial because it includes nonsense words such as “flep” and “shem” but it’s testing a very critical skill – blending. Why an Australian Phonics Check is important and what it could look like.

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What is a Schwa and How to Teach It



The schwa can be a cause of confusion and frustration in spelling and reading for a student. Teacher Shirley Houston will give you a simple way to explain it and some tips for helping students to decode and encode words containing a schwa.


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Getting Physical with Phonics




Hopscotch, Graffiti Spelling, Scavenger Hunt – there are lots of ways to get children outside, moving and working on phonics! Elaine Cleary gives some ideas for getting children exercising and practising their phonics!


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