Other than the obvious benefits that come with being able to read quickly and easily, and to LOVE reading and be obsessed with Code Mapping for spelling, Miss Emma is focused on early reading for reasons many outside of the teaching profession may not understand.
'I want you to understand what I was up against when trying to support teachers in Australia for a decade. They wanted it, parents wanted it, children LOVED it. Admin (leadership team) often wanted a scripted handbook like Spelling Mastery/ Reading Mastery/ InitiaLit...that teachers could just open up and every child taught in the same way, at the same time. I reject that 100%. I created The Coding Poster for these kids. You can see it's changed a bit, but the underlying concept is the same. These kids asked for their own copy for Xmas!
These are children, who want to PLAY, to INQUIRE, to TALK and to have a 'hands-on' learning experience. So these children are not listening to their incredible teacher talk from the front of the class, they are DOING, and she is stepping in as and when the children need her; less teaching, more learning. I call these amazing educators 'ConDUCKtors' as they are guiding, and of course we love our Duck Hands. I was there talking to a parent who was trying to get her head around this 'unique' approach. 3 years on, these preppies were top in QLD according to NAPLAN results - for literacy. How did I know? A lot of the parents stayed in touch with me.
At the end of my year volunteering to help (a whole year of my life dedicated to supporting teachers and kids at that school!) the boss told me he wanted 'Direct Instruction' and not this. And even parent petitions were ignored.
That's what we're up against folks. And this is why I want children reading and obsessed with spelling BEFORE they even start school. I can show anyone how to teach any child or adult to read and spell and to LOVE it - but I can't fight those making the decisions. Teachers can't either.
It's pretty heartbreaking. The decision many make fail too many children - and somehow the child or teachers are blamed and those selling these programs keep getting richer. So I'm now trying to help kids before they start school.
Yes, I sell products and services. But they are products and services that work!
It goes without saying that I'll continue to mentor teachers in schools with supportive leaders, for the rest of my life.
But until something drastic changes, I need to ensure that as many children can already read before they start school.'
Miss Emma X
Teachers who ARE supported, and valued as experts (not just paid to deliver programs) are better equipped to meet the needs of your children. Their emotional well-being is as important to these leaders and teachers as their academic achievement. But you need to understand that this is not 'the norm'. Most enter the profession as they LOVE children, and LOVE to develop relationships with children as they learn together. Many leave the profession as the education system is set up to prevent this from happening, far too often. Many hang in there for a long time because of this passion.
Ironically, when schools move back towards a passion for children and learning, they are able to achieve far better 'data' - the very thing many are chasing as the goal. For us, it is simply a natural by-product.
This school DROPPED a synthetic phonics program to use the Speech Sound Pics (SSP) Approach. Children were not thriving, just because they were learning 'phonics'. Teachers knew that something was missing.
Their data is not being shared, as this doesn't fit the narrative. But I know what they are achieving there, and I could not be more proud. They are paving the way. Because of their leaders, and fabulous team, they can achieve what I couldn't achieve when working with those QLD preppies so many years ago.
'Just completed our Year 1 Phonics Check. 87% of our cohort passed; a great result, especially with all the Covid challenges this year! Over three years, with the introduction of SSP throughout the school, we have gone from 50%-80%-87% pass rate. Aiming for 90-95% in 2021??
This year's cohort is the first group of students to have been taught using SSP for one year of Reception and three terms of Year 1.
Stephanie (South Australia)