Methodology, Principles of Learning, Reading Interventions, School-wide Literacy, Training
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Reflections on the Hard Road to Success

Mountain reflection with path (Pixabay)

As part of this year’s time of reflection, I have been considering my own sense of urgency in communicating to educators not only the enormous scale of the problem, but also that solutions to the problem already exist. While most people are willing to accept the former, misconceptions about reading, intelligence and learning abound in education – often making it difficult to accept the idea that illiteracy is a solvable issue.

7 Misconceptions About Teaching Adolescents to Read. This post addresses seven key misconceptions that act as barriers to effective action. It is surprising and alarming how pervasive these ideas are. The post can be downloaded as a PDF.

Pulling the Strands Together shows how the research on effective reading instruction – including effective remedial reading instruction for adolescents – can be applied to school practices. The problem has in fact been solved – it is up to us to be committed enough to apply the solutions.

Enigma Machine

Code-Teaching or Code-Breaking? is, by some way, the most read post on this site. It sets out the two main approaches to beginning reading instruction, and shows why the ‘meaning first’ approach fails so many students. The question is not one of preferred style but of the best way to ensure that as many students as possible learn to read early.

Lady Justice Cudrefin

The Writing on the Wall addresses the cliché of ‘balance’. There can be no case for a balance between effective and ineffective practices.

Cinderella - slipper

SEND the Right Message takes this a step further, arguing that training in effective SEND teaching needs to be high quality, rigorous and focused on practical strategies with measurable outcomes – not labels.

Teaching Reading is Rocket Science is a summary of the classic article by Professor Louisa Moats, arguing that teaching reading requires a great deal of knowledge about language, reading development in children, and teaching methods.

The following posts form an important series which was written to give a clearer sense of how intensive and systematic the process of implementing Thinking Reading programmes is – and the impact that learning to read quickly has on adolescents who have previously thought of themselves as failures.

Diverging Roads 2

Can’t Read, Won’t Read – the Matthew Effect on the complications of helping students after they have experienced years of compounding failure due to poor reading instruction.

Face in Cage (Shutterstock)

Can’t Read, Won’t Read – No Escape. When students have a well-established history of failure, we need to make it impossible for them to fail.

Oasis_Huacachina (Wikimedia)

Can’t Read, Won’t Read – Metamorphosis. Rigorous, systematic teaching can produce startling transformations.

Mongolian eagle hunting req credit (Shutterstock)

Can’t Read, Won’t Read – Learning to Fly. How to move students from intensive instruction to true independence.

This series of posts explains the process we went through in developing a training programme for teachers to enable them to replicate these reading practices in their schools to achieve the same levels of success:

Running chickens (Flickr)

First, catch your chicken – developing a curriculum to train teachers in effective reading instruction.


Combine with precision – describing the experience of Thinking Reading training.

Medieval_baker.jpg (Wikipedia)

Cook to perfection – how we ensure that teachers are able to deliver the programme with fluency and confidence.

Three older posts on the business of successful learning, and the expertise required:

What Does Mastery Really Look Like?

Why We Can’t Remember How We Learned

Time Out

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You may also be interested in:

Lake Matheson just after the sunrise

Reflections on Challenge

Dark Mountain Reflection (Unsplash)

Reflections on Hidden Potential

Two Boats on Misty Lake (Unsplash)

Reflections on Journeys


  1. Pingback: Reflections on Challenge | thinkingreadingwritings

  2. Pingback: Reflections on Hidden Potential | thinkingreadingwritings

  3. Pingback: Reflections on Journeys | thinkingreadingwritings

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