What does research in cognitive architecture have to offer phonics instruction?
Nobody seriously denies that phonics is the best way to teach young children to read and write. The issue facing us now is to decide which phonics approaches work best.
In this talk, I explore how research on the development of the world’s writing systems and on human cognitive architecture can best inform our practice as teachers of literacy. Some of the key questions we need to address are: how important it is that we use a sound-to-print approach to the teaching of phonics that makes immediate sense to four-year-old children starting school; how much and what kind of instruction and practice these children need; how do we get knowledge of the code from working memory into long-term memory, and, what the role of feedback is in the process?
I will argue that teaching what is intrinsic to the task of learning to read and write presupposes developing a mode of instruction that strips away anything extraneous which may cause delay or confusion in the minds of young children. Such an approach would teach only the code knowledge and the fundamental skills, as well as teaching an understanding of how the English alphabet code works.
After 25 years of teaching in primary, secondary and HE, John Walker discovered his true passion was to help children to learn to read and write. John is one of the developers of the Sounds-Write phonics programme. Sounds-Write has trained over 15,000 teachers to teach phonics to children in schools in the UK, Australia, and many other countries.
John is also keen to help parents whose children are learning to read and write and has written a free, online course: Help your child to read and write, which is available on Udemy https://www.udemy.com/help-your-child-to-read-and-write/
Kim is an Educational and Developmental Psychologist with extensive experience delivering professional learning to schools throughout Western Australia. She has worked at DSF since 2010 and is a popular Sounds~Write trainer. As a senior psychologist at DSF, Kim supervises clinical staff, and regularly consults with families and teachers. Since completing her Sounds~Write training, Kim has been using the program with students and regularly works with school staff on the implementation of Sounds~Write at a classroom and school level.