The foundation lesson gives the teacher immediate insights into a person's reading difficulties and enables him or her to turn the situation round in the first lesson, with obvious savings in time, money and anxiety.
Karina McLachlain, who has observed it, asked for illustrations. Here are two from this morning's lesson, by Skype to Falkirk with a ten year old. I wrote them with a marker on paper, holding them up to the camera for the pupil to see, while her mother took notes.. The pupil ended the lesson by reading the first paragraph of Alice in Wonderland with good phrasing, only slight hesitation, and no errors - an excellent result, and one I would not claim to be typical - not every pupil makes so much progress in one lesson:
This illustration shows the examples used to explain that letters usually indicate a sound, that they tell us all we need to know for some words, but not for all, and that they won't tell us how to pronounce a longer word. It makes the point that when we learn a word, we should learn another that is like it. Anything that is not fully understood, is explained.
The next section shows that some letters give us information about other letters - final e, softening c and g.
This illustration shows letters working in groups, first with an easy group, ship, then one where the letters do not behave as we might expect, ti. Finally, it illustrates vowel groups. The historical aspect of English spelling was explained using the example of table, from French, which the pupil could pronounce accurately in French.
The teacher in the second case study, also by Skype, from Yorkshire, emailed the following comment, edited to preserve anonymity. This pupil was also benefiting from introduction of a blue overlay, following the YPO course:
THANK YOU SO MUCH for this afternoon - you achieved SO much including progress that maybe isn't instantly obvious. Like securing IMMEDIATE respect and engagement from parent and pupil himself. Both are extremely excited about MORE - WE WILL sort the technology so it works next time
I do suspect that p read much of The Gruffalo from memory. He has MANY strategies already to cope (he is EXTREMELY intelligent) - some of which help him (as you saw today) and equally many that simply avoid... and create mayhem for me/us and further frustrations for him
(note. this issue will be dealt with in lesson 2. The trick is to present the words out of context on cards, and see if the child can still read them.)
I don't quite know how to phrase this meaningfully - nonetheless I have always had a passion for Literacy and language - words, morphology and word play... and how to weave words to create atmosphere, paint pictures etc. Whilst no where like in your league, I can truly say that I have never met anybody in my entire life who shared this interest - so your 'bis' email was one of the most fun that I have had in a LONG time. Will pass this on to my older children tomorrow. As soon as I enthuse the older ones about anything, they all become fascinated. My challenge to them was to explain biscuit in the context of bi as a prefix. They raced for an answer - hence the twice baked!
(Note: Wikipedia to the rescue. The prefix is bis, and in the middle ages, biscuits were cooked twice, the second time in warm oven to dry them out.)