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March 31, 2020

Information processing theory attempts to articulate the unobservable through models that illustrate a cognitive-processing perspective on the processing, storage and retrieval of information (Tracey and Morrow, 2012).  It is vital to the understanding of the process of learning to read and being taught to read because implicit in the theory is the understanding that any cognitive activity has a process associated with it.  The...

March 31, 2020

Where Flesch’s (1955) ‘Why Johnny Can’t Read’ stole the headlines, it was Terman and Walcutt’s ‘Reading Chaos and Cure’ (1958) that rationalised Flesch’s (1955) raw polemic with scholarly analysis.  Their systematic deconstruction of Gestalt theory’s assumption that a child learns from wholes to parts as related to reading concluded with the resolution that an illogical union had been forged between the theory and the study of e...

March 31, 2020

If information processing theory attempts to articulate the unobservable (Tracey and Morrow, 2012), then it is relevant to explore, with the development of scanning technology, what is observable in the brain when reading occurs.  This is particularly relevant if we reject the concept that reading is a natural and inherent process that can be discovered in much the same manner that humans develop language fluency....

March 26, 2020

Phonics is certainly fundamental to reading fluency but there seems to be a missing link.

Children learn how to read fluently at different rates and with differing levels of difficulty (Snowling and Hume, 2005) and while some attain fluency relatively easily, others encounter complications and struggle to attain the ability to decode swiftly and automatically.  Although the research into the importance of phonological processing...

June 25, 2019

The evolution of oppositional thumbs and an erect stature have been fundamental developments in mankind, but when the ancients suggested that “speech is the difference of man” they were highlighting the one dominant factor that separates homo sapiens from the rest of the animal kingdom; the quantum leap performed by humankind that truly divorces man from beast: language (McLuhan and Logan, 1977).

This ability to communicate speci...

June 2, 2019

For reading to be fluent it must be accurate, at a reasonable rate and prosodic (Kuhn and Stahl, 2003).  Accuracy and speed pertain to decoding automaticity and the word superiority effect (Reicher, 1969 – more here) but prosody (the ability to make oral reading sound like authentic oral speech (Rasinski et al., 2011)) is more nuanced and demanding to identify.

Prosody focuses on the features of speech that are layered...

January 4, 2019



Adams, F. and Gray, L. (1949). Teaching children to read. New York: Ronald Press.

Adams, M. and Bruck, M. (1993). Word recognition: The interface of educational policies and scientific research. Reading and Writing, 5(2), pp.113-139.

Adoniou, M. (2017). Misplaced faith in phonics and the phonics screening check. Education Journal, 313, pp.25-27.

Allen, W. (1989). Vox Latina. Cambridge, GBR: Cambridge University...

September 21, 2018

Is there anyone out there whose heart does not sink at the thought of setting performance management objectives?Is there anyone who does not stare at the blank document and die a thousand silent deaths?  Is there anyone out there who thinks that the performance management process helps them to teach their children better and make them cleverer?  Is there anyone out there who knows how to make the system work…and that doesn’t mea...

September 1, 2018

By the late nineteenth century in the United States the vice-like grip of the whole-word method on initial reading instruction and the reliance on the McGuffy Reader was starting to diminish as the long-term effects of the method were starting to become evident.  Pupils made apparently huge initial strides in reading fluency in the early grades, but as Smith notes from a contemporary journal ‘…pupils in the higher grades are not...

April 29, 2018

Learning to read is only worthwhile if, firstly, there is something to read, secondly, the reading of that text is worthwhile and thirdly, that expenditure of time and effort reading that text provides utility to the reader.  To modern day citizens, immersed in a world of digital and physical text of such overwhelming quantities and scope that to deny oneself access to the written word would be culturally, socially and economica...

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