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April 5, 2020

Pressley and Afflerbach’s (1995) assertion that comprehension was a moment by moment process affected by complex interactions influenced by numerous factors led to concerns around strategies instruction.  There was a growing recognition that reading comprehension was a more context-sensitive and dynamic process that required a more flexible approach and a more complex view of teaching rather than the accepted strategy-based appr...

March 31, 2020

The eventual decline of the Roman empire resulted in a waning of the dominance of Latin across Europe as it retreated to Rome along with its armies, its legislators and its administrators.  Local, tribal languages that had been submerged but not overwhelmed by the Roman tongue were free to re-emerge, expand and dilute the dominance of Latin (Crystal, 1995). 

Their time in the sun was, nonetheless, short-lived. The retreat of...

March 31, 2020

The teaching of the skills to decipher ‘the small, black marks on white paper,’ (Dehaene, 2009, p1) that in objective combinations form written communication and assign meaningful and accurate language to them has troubled pedagogues since the inception of early writing.  Five thousand years later, modern day teachers are in the enviable position of having far greater understanding of the pedagogical and cognitive progression th...

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

1997. Theory-Led Thematic Analysis: Social Identification In Small Companies. In Hayes, N., Editor, Doing Qualitative Analysis In Psychology.. Psychology Press.

1997. Theory-Led Thematic Analysis: Social Identification In Small Companies. In Hayes, N., Editor, Doing Qualitative Analysis In Psychology.. Psychology Press.

1998. National Foundation For Educational Research, Reading Comprehension Test DE.. NFER, Nelson.

1998. National...

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