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Welcome to my latest newsletter. I'd love to hear what you think – get in touch here

Watch...and give it a go!

We love making films for your weekly practice sessions.

All you need to do is watch a Portal film, check the handbook planning and get practising!

Watch Natalie teach 5-year-old Erin to blend in just five minutes.

Practise at home

We practise teaching at home before we go 'live' in front of a class.
  • First, we check the specific steps in the handbook and watch another trainer's clip
  • Second, we film ourselves using a phone
  • Third, we watch the film to identify ways to raise our game.
Importantly, we don't practise on children, that would mean they'd be taking part in our learning. Not surprisingly, children make quicker progress when we know what we're doing!

Trainers said that they didn't enjoy watching themselves when they started, but now it's their new normal.

Watch Amy here.

Delayed pronunciation of sounds

Accurate production of speech sounds can take some time to develop in young children – but don't let delayed speech prevent a child from making progress in reading.

Identity the sound/s a child has difficulty pronouncing:
  • Face the child and say each sound of the alphabet and ask the child to copy sound by sound
  • Note any sounds that the child says differently (without making it obvious that you are concerned)
  • Accept the child's pronunciation, both when they read these sounds and when they blend them into words
  • Do not draw attention to any difference in pronunciation or try to correct the child. Many of these issues will resolve in time on their own.
Now check that the child can match the letter to the sound they are finding it hard to produce. This will tell you if they can in fact hear, discriminate and match the sound to the letter:
  • Put out three Speed Sounds cards – include the tricky sound
  • Say the sound and ask them to point to the correct letter (or digraph)
  • If the child can point to the correct letter, it's proof that they know the correspondence between the sound and letter. If not, re-teach the sound-letter correspondence.
In the next newsletter, we will look at some of the causes of speech delay and what to do if these problems do not resolve themselves.

Teach something new...review, review, review

Make sure you use Pinny Time to review sounds with the children who need extra practice.

Your top tips

Send us your top tips to get every child reading so we can share these with other teachers. Please remember to tell us the name of your school so we can credit you with the tip!



Hope all this helps,
Best wishes 


The Department for Education and Ruth Miskin Training are pleased to announce a series of Phonics Roadshows. These free events will showcase best practice in the teaching of phonics and early reading.

Events are hosted in schools that scored above the national average in the 2018 Phonics Screening Check (PSC) and are rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.

The event will include:

  • Talks from local leaders about key literacy decisions and from a Ruth Miskin Consultant Trainer
  • A learning walk to see teaching of phonics and reading

Resources from publishers will be available.

Click here to book

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