Archive | Questions & Comments


Bird Names

Just like many other words in English, it is interesting to look at the origin of the names of birds. The word bird (brid) and many common birds have names that are Anglo-Saxon in origin – crow (crawe), duce (duce), goose (gos – which is no doubt why the plural of goose is gosling), sparrow […]

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What is Schwa?

Linguistically, schwa (represented using the symbol ǝ) is an unaccented vowel sound that sounds something like an unclear grunt /u/. It occurs in unaccented words and syllables and is the most commonly occurring sound in English. The problem with schwa, which makes it a very confusing sound to teach and for children, especially those with […]

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Guided Reading or Explicit Phonic-based Instruction?

Considerable time and money is invested in students with reading difficulties, including those with dyslexia. This article provides an overview of the key findings in Denton et al.’s (2014) research which compared three different approaches. From an original sample of 1942 students, 218 Grade 2 students were identified as at risk (i.e., in the bottom […]

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ant or ent -

Is the suffix -ant or –ent?

The suffixes ‘-ant’ and ‘-ent’ are added to words to form a noun to indicate a ‘person who’ or ‘thing that’ (e.g., an ‘assistant’ is a person who assists, a ‘president’ is a person who presides). They are also added to words to form adjectives describing a state or quality (e.g., stagnate – stagnant, persist […]

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F TH V Confusion

It is not uncommon for students, especially younger students, to have difficulty pronouncing and discriminating between /f/, /th/ and /v/ which then has a flow-on impact on spelling words containing these graphemes correctly. If students have difficulty producing these sounds, it is preferable that they be on-referred to a speech pathologist. It is also important […]

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