Teaching Reading


The English-speaking world is FINALLY coming to a consensus that systematic, synthetic phonics is crucial to learning to read and spell, but when should you stop teaching phonics? When do you move children on from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’? Teacher Shirley Houston discusses.

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Shirley Houston explains the logic (alongside some fascinating history facts) behind w-controlled vowels and gives teachers easy ways to help in their recall.

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Did you miss our free webinar on the new NSW Phonics Scope and Sequence?

Fear not! This month’s blog post gives you the 1.5 hour recording and summarises the key take-aways from this hugely popular session. Everything you need to know about the NSW phonics curriculum changes.

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Synthetic phonics has its own terminology; grapheme, phoneme, vowel team, the list goes on! It’s important that teachers understand and easily recall the key terms.

We’ve listed the 13 definitions your teachers need to know and included a fun phonics quiz along with printable handouts for your next professional development session.

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Are you teaching consonant blends such as ‘str’ or ‘bl’? Teacher Shirley Houston explains why it’s much more time- and learning-efficient to ditch blends and focus on the skill of blending.

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Synthetic phonics gets results in reading and spelling – fast. How do you use Phonics Hero’s synthetic phonics program at home? Follow these steps is how!

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As the school year progresses, students start to fly through the basic phonics code – until they come up against the alternative spellings and it hurts even your head! How do you teach and embed the alternative spellings so that students’ spelling becomes more accurate? Teacher Shirley Houston explains.

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Online learning is (unfortunately) the new norm for many Aussie families. But how do you balance online and offline learning for a more engaged, well-rounded experience? Teacher Santina DiMauro explores her favourite ‘green time’ lockdown phonics activities.

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As you read this, you are not sounding out each word – you are automatically reading the words. This is automaticity; it frees up your working memory to comprehend what’s written and is our end goal for the children we teach to read. Teacher Shirley Houston explains how to systematically teach phonics to ensure every child achieves automaticity and becomes a skilled reader.

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Phonics and ESL


It’s often assumed that native speakers have a natural advantage over second language learners when it comes to learning to read in English, but is this really the case? Teacher John Martin shares his experience and learnings from his Hong Kong classroom.

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