Teaching Reading


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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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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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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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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Lego? Marker? You’ve already got everything you need for our fairground-inspired Lego phonics activities. These fun reading games are a hit with both kids and the time-poor parent.

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Whether your school is partially open, completely closed or returning to a ‘new normal’, Phonics Hero is here to support you. We explain how Phonics Hero can help teachers keep up phonics learning during these tricky times.

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When a child stumbles over how to read or spell a word, many parents feel stumped with how to help and end up just giving the answer. Experienced teacher, Shirley Houston, shows parents how to help when their child gets stuck.

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