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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An accessible insight into the nature of literacy
McGuinness offers the casual reader, as well as the professional, valuable insights into the nature of the acquisition of literacy, dispelling the anachronistic remainders of learning deficit theory (notably dyslexia), and proposing a structure of learning based upon the logic of the available and largely consistent English-language spelling patterns. The details of her...
Published on 18 Feb 2002 by markripper@hotmail.com

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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Curate's Egg?
Some teachers says that the book changed their lives. I'm not one of those. Put off, sometimes, by a rather know-it-all tone - "Until this moment you probably never knew this" - and by sidelines such as some odd assumptions about quite why a mother's educational background can be seen as an indicator of a child's success (more likely to spend time teaching their child...
Published on 2 Aug 2004 by Nicktomjoe


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An accessible insight into the nature of literacy, 18 Feb 2002
This review is from: Why Children Can't Read: And What We Can Do About it (Paperback)
McGuinness offers the casual reader, as well as the professional, valuable insights into the nature of the acquisition of literacy, dispelling the anachronistic remainders of learning deficit theory (notably dyslexia), and proposing a structure of learning based upon the logic of the available and largely consistent English-language spelling patterns. The details of her analysis genuinely surpass those of the modern theorists whose views continue to hold sway in British education (Frith, Goodman, etc.), and can be used by reflective practitioners to give much-needed meaning to the word-level objectives stipulated by the National Literacy Strategy. The gulf between received curricular ideas and the mechanisms of learning is apparent after reading this book. A superb achievement, and invaluable reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This makes so much sense!, 19 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Why Children Can't Read: And What We Can Do About it (Paperback)
As an expert in helping children who 'can't' read, write or spell become confident readers, writers and spellers, this book has given me another piece of the jigsaw. I have been inspired to use the idea of teaching the alphabet code alongside my own techniques and early results are positive.The book takes a long time, at the beginning, to explain the history of our language and spelling which the children have found helpful as well. Now they realise that there is an issue with our spelling and not with them! The book is very readable too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best explanation of aquiring reading skill, 19 April 2013
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This review is from: Why Children Can't Read: And What We Can Do About it (Paperback)
Some children just seem to 'catch on' to reading, without too much trouble, no matter what teaching method is used. The difficulty is how to help the 10 - 15% of children who don't 'catch on' no matter what method is used. This book shows why some children don't just learn to read at once and how they can be helped.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential if you have anything to do with the teaching of reading, 11 Feb 2011
By 
Mrs. E. A. Nonweiler (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Why Children Can't Read: And What We Can Do About it (Paperback)
This book explains the research in a way ordinary teachers and parents can understand. It shows why it is crucial that we teach children (and anyone who can't read) to decode and not to memorise whole words or guess what the words are from context.

If you care about the fact that millions of children in the English speaking world have been taught to read by flawed methods, read this book, recommend it to others and help in the campaign for change.

Find out more from the Reading Reform Foundation []

Elizabeth
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Curate's Egg?, 2 Aug 2004
This review is from: Why Children Can't Read: And What We Can Do About it (Paperback)
Some teachers says that the book changed their lives. I'm not one of those. Put off, sometimes, by a rather know-it-all tone - "Until this moment you probably never knew this" - and by sidelines such as some odd assumptions about quite why a mother's educational background can be seen as an indicator of a child's success (more likely to spend time teaching their child to read and to send them to independent schools? Are both of these really the reasons?), I find myself wondering how sound some of her other statements are, too.

Nevertheless, McGuinness does have some sensible, analytical things to reveal, and does so in some order. Her talk about reading as a skilled behaviour that needs to be taught as such is spot on, for example, as is her pre-Literacy Strategy breakdown of the way in which the phonic "Code" develops and is put together. And since the NLS in effect collapses into the Simple View of Reading, perhaps this is a book to revisit.

So all in all I find it a Curate's Egg: parts of it are quite good. But not a book on phonics to change my life.
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Why Children Can't Read: And What We Can Do About it
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