Welcome to Teacher Talk, where our authors 'talk' early literacy with teachers. You'll find practical classroom strategies and tips from real educators, as well as personal stories and innovative approaches to improving your teaching practice.
- Learning to spell enhances students’ reading and writing, but the rules for spelling are very complex, and can produce frustration in the classroom. As teacher and writer Jenny Feely notes, at times even highly literate adults struggle with spelling. Jenny suggests ways teachers can appease students’ concerns about spelling, and includes some helpful spelling tips. She reminds us that although the many layers of the English language do make it harder to spell, they also provide us with a rich vocabulary.
- Early intervention for students with reading difficulties is widely recognised as making a significant difference in the long-term reading abilities of children. Research indicates that 95 per cent of children who have difficulty learning to read can reach grade level if they receive specialised help early on. As a literacy researcher, but also as a volunteer tutor giving one-to-one instruction, Susan Hill describes her recent involvement in a successful early intervention.
- Talking about the letters and sounds that make up words helps improve reading and writing skills. On a recent visit to a foundation-level classrooom, author and teacher Kerrie Shanahan discovers students confidently using technical terms such as phonemes, digraphs and syllables. This experience is a reminder of how young students are able to understand and appropriately use technical terms to support their learning.
- The importance of reading aloud to children from birth has been well established by research. Recalling a surprising encounter with teenagers enjoying a read-aloud, teacher and writer Jenny Feely implores us to remember that enjoying a read-aloud is a lifelong experience that reinforces the joy of reading and provides memorable experiences with great books.
- Finding the right name for a character in narrative texts is a challenge for published authors as well as for students. Author and teacher Jenny Feely shares a variety of classroom ideas to help students find appropriate names for their characters and take a step towards more successful narrative writing.
- Children’s reading fluency is improved when they can automatically recognise high-frequency words. Literacy consultant Lyn Reggett discusses a guided reading lesson where a supportive book, which features the systematic use of high-frequency words, helps a young student discover the thrill of being able to read.
- Writing a journal is a familiar literacy experience for many students in the classroom. Reflecting on the sometimes uninspired efforts of students and her own experiences of journal keeping, teacher and writer Jenny Feely argues that journals should be as useful to student writers as they are to professional writers. For students, journals should provide opportunities for writing imaginatively and be useful resources to inform their other writing.
- Recalling her personal experience of losing meaning while reading and the strategies she used to get it back, literacy researcher Alison Davis argues that students need specific classroom instruction to help them access a range of comprehension strategies and lay the foundations for a lifetime of successful reading.
- What are the similarities and differences between reading traditional books and multimodal books and games on iPads? The iPad educational apps of levelled books and word games look very inviting. But in one research project a teacher, Carly Willamowski, found that five- and six-year-old struggling readers soon became tired of the apps and continually wanted interaction with the teacher.