After lesson 1, by skype, from Linton, Cambridgeshire, to Falkirk, Stirlingshire.
I wanted to extend my thanks for what can only be described as a life-changing breakthrough for both my daughters.
Your ability to break down spelling into understandable chunks, in an historical context, has made all the difference. S. now understands she is not an idiot. She is walking on air today and is even enjoying maths - all because she now knows that she is not inadequate in any way. The psychological knot in her mind is being loosened. She feels that she IS able to learn.
You are the first person who has been able to explain why our language and spelling system operates the way it does, in a simple (but not simplistic) way that and 11 year old can understand. Most important was your teaching about word groupings and how groups of letters can sound quite different to their individual parts and even make similar sounds, such as 'sh' as in 'ship' and then 'ti' as in 'patient'. No one had told S. that before.
Don't get me wrong: I can see the utility of phonics and it helped my children in the basics of reading but alas, beyond a certain level of complexity, it a bit like trying to complete a jigsaw with one third of the pieces missing. It's possible to formulate a reasonable guess as to what the finished puzzle will look like but much of the detail will be lost.
John, you have shown me that's it time to stop blaming the pupils and even the teachers (who can teach what they do not know?) and to put a system in place that is simple in its delivery but comprehensive in its scope. I hope that those in positions of power start to listen to you.