Jelly and Bean

Category: News

100 Words

In 2005 Dr Jonathan Solity and his team identified 100 words which make up 53% of the written words in children’s and adult’s reading books. These very frequently occurring words come from the database of over 850,000 words found in these books. These 100 words are: a, about, after, all, am, an, and, are, as, […]

Spaces between words, units of meaning and phonics

Consider the word ‘to’. It is written as two letters with a space either side. Once we have seen it and someone has told us how to pronounce it, we are able to remember ‘to’ in its written form. We learn its sound (phonology) and its spelling (orthography). It is a unit of meaning in […]

Question: When is a digraph not a digraph?

Answer: When it crosses a syllable boundary. A digraph is two letters that combine together to correspond to one sound (phoneme). Examples of consonant digraphs are ‘ch, sh, th, ng’.  Examples of vowel digraphs are ‘ea, oa, oe, ie, ue, ar, er, ir, or, ur ‘. If we think about consonant digraphs first we see […]

Syllables, Phonemes and Phonemic Awareness

Syllables Syllables are the smallest units of spoken language that humans articulate in normal speech. They are made up of a vowel called the ‘nucleus’ and an optional consonant before and/or after the vowel. *** The consonant (or cluster of consonants) before the vowel is called the onset. The consonant (or cluster of consonants) after […]

Spellings, Letters, Sounds and Learning to Read

In the 17th century, the spellings of English words were ‘set in stone’ when the first dictionaries were written. These spellings have not changed over time. It is because of this, that we can read books written in previous centuries. However, the 26 letters of the English alphabet are pronounced in many different ways in written […]

How Do Children Learn To Read?

A short summary from Reading in the Brain by Stanislas Dehaene, published 2009. Dehaene uses Uta Frith’s three step model of reading acquisition as the psychological basis of how children learn to read. Frith’s psychological model of reading acquisition is: Step 1. Logographic or pictorial stage Step 2. Phonological stage Step 3. Orthographic stage 1. Logographic […]

Learning to Read Words by Sight.

LEARNING TO READ WORDS An interpretation of a 2005 paper by Linnea C. Ehri “Words are the basic units that reader’s eyes pick up and process to construct meaning out of print.” “Eye movement studies show that when readers read a text, their eyes land on practically every word.” “Because words are always spelled the […]

Speech Sounds

A summary taken from a paper by Professor Robert F Port  2006 Speech sounds are articulated very quickly, i.e. between 10-15 sounds are uttered within a second. Human speech produces complex sound patterns, delivered temporally (i.e. within a timescale). Humans can recognise speech at this rate, and understand it in their own language. It is […]

A word without meaning is not a word

A word without meaning is not a word In the summer of 2010 the British government updated its core criteria for publishers for producers of  synthetic phonic programmes and supporting materials for teaching children to read. These core criteria, as they stood at 1st March 2012, can be found here. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/298420/phonics_core_criteria_and_the_self-assessment_process.pdf Since these criteria were introduced all children […]

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