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Presented and produced by Seán Delaney.

On this week's programme I am delighted to interview my colleague, Dr. Jennifer O'Sullivan on the topic of teaching reading. Specifically, we explore the areas of phonemic awareness, phonological awareness and picture books. Jennifer also recommends several useful resources for teaching reading.

Among the topics we discuss and the resources mentioned are the following:

  • Jennifer's route to becoming a teacher
  • The joys and challenges of teaching in a junior school that had disadvantaged status
  • Doing a master’s degree in literacy.
  • Specific challenges teachers experience in their first year of teaching
  • The research base for how children learn to read
  • The path to learning to read: alphabetic principle, apply sounds of language to print on page, decoding, comprehending meaning
  • The importance of teacher content knowledge in diagnosing what a child needs to work on when learning to read
  • The importance of phonological awareness and what phonemic awareness is
  • Why not to introduce phonics to children too soon; start with speech and then move to print (rather than working from print to sounds).
  • The need to teach children how to separate sounds in words and to blend them back together.
  • The need to explicitly teach that, for example, a word like “eight” has only two sounds but five letters and that this makes the subsequent introduction of phonics easier for children.
  • The App she’s developing to assess phonological awareness
  • Why dyslexia is caused by a phonological deficit
  • Visual literacy and close reading
  • Reading a picture
  • Picture books to use in primary school:
  • How to use picture books in school: discussing difficult topics, developing empathy, developing vocabulary, springboard for writing, visual literacy, challenging stereotypes.
  • What parents can do at home to help their child read better
  • A billboard message for all teachers
  • Jan Hasbrouck.
  • Mark Seidenberg: Language at the Speed of Sight
  • Louisa Moats (What do we need to know as teachers to teach reading?). Book, Speech to Print.
  • Clara Fiorentini’s Little Miss Teacher blog. Here is a link to the interview I did with Clara Fiortentin.
  • The Literacy Channel on YouTube.


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