I was very pleased to be invited to speak again at another researchED conference (jointly hosted by Oxford University Press) featuring English and Modern Foreign Languages. Thank you Tom Bennett, founder of researchED, for my invitation!
Here is the topic of my talk: What’s ‘holding back’ research-informed foundational literacy from reaching all teachers and learners?
I used this opportunity to raise awareness about the parlous state of general knowledge, teacher knowledge and teaching provision for reading instruction – such that it still remains ‘chance’ as to the content and way in which children are taught to read. This is simply not acceptable with ample research-findings on reading instruction, and leading-edge practice, to ensure virtually every child is taught to read. In England in 2016, for example, teachers in 1,138 schools taught 95% to 100% of their children to reach or exceed the benchmark of 32 out of 40 words read correctly or plausibly (in the case of the 20 pseudo-words) in the statutory Year One Phonics Screening Check. All teachers need to aspire to this 100% figure if we are to truly address illiteracy and weak literacy in English-speaking contexts.
I designed my PowerPoint presentation to be understandable (hopefully) if viewed without any additional ongoing explanation as I always planned to add it to my blog. You will see via my PowerPoint that influential organisations continue to be culpable for providing guidance which is not based on the findings of a body of research nor leading-edge practice – guidance that can be very damaging to at least some children (particularly those with the greatest challenges for learning to read) – and that this is a very worrying scenario.
In other words, teachers continue to get very mixed messages from various sources – therefore they are unlikely to be able to evaluate their provision well enough – nor understand how it is they can teach so hard and yet not reach the standards of other teachers.
Here it is: