Direct, Explicit Instruction

Discovery, experiential or constructivist learning has long been promoted in teacher training as the best form of instruction for students. The following is a review of Clark, Kirschner and Sweller’s (2012) article in which they argued students learn best when they are given guided direct instruction by an expert, NOT when they attempt to ‘discover’ […]

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Learning to write

Combining & Expanding Sentences

  Sentences are the basic building blocks of writing. There is a growing body of research showing that sentence combining and sentence expanding are effective ways of improving students’ writing by teaching them the skills associated with developing elaborate and complex sentences. There are also several advantages to this type of activity: It is quick. […]

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Magnifying glass3

Developing Inferential Comprehension

Before students can comprehend the written word, they need to be able to decode the text and this should always be a core focus of intervention if this is the underlying problem. A core component of comprehension is to be able to infer meaning by connecting ideas, responding to meaning that is not explicitly stated […]

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Helping Students Learn From Their Mistakes

I’m often asked about the value of on-line and computer based programs for students that are having difficulty with reading and spelling.  Although there is definitely a place for some of these programs, I believe that at this stage of technological development, you can’t replace human interaction and feedback. Every mistake a student makes is […]

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alphabet pobject_B

What is Schwa?

Linguistically, schwa (represented using the symbol ǝ) is an unaccented vowel sound that sounds something like an unclear grunt. 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 reading […]

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