Helping Children with Reading and Spelling: A Special Needs Manual

Helping Children with Reading and Spelling: A Special Needs Manual

Helping Children with Reading and Spelling: A Special Needs Manual

Helping Children with Reading and Spelling: A Special Needs Manual


Helping Children with Reading and Spelling contains a basic kit of suggestions to help children who struggle with learning to read and spell. The materials build on the content of an earlier manual, Learning Difficulties in Reading and Writing , which has been widely and successfully used by teachers. The detailed teaching sequences, combining the enjoyment of content with the more systematic practice of subskills, which were particularly appreciated in the earlier volume, have been further developed here.The book is consistent with: * English National Curriculum Programmes of Study, and * the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs.Teachers using the manual will be following the school-based stages of intervention recommended by the Code and will be providing, when necessary, an invaluable basis for further action. Its practical A4 format, photocopiable materials and case examples make this an invaluable handbook for day to day use in the classroom.


This manual comes at a propitious time. The Dealing review of the national curriculum promises some degree of relief from the overwhelming demands of a nine subject curriculum and provides a much needed vote of confidence in teachers’ judgements on what and how to teach. It also recognises that more must be done to ensure that the programmes of study are accessible at all levels.

As the Dearing review is implemented, teachers may find more time to work with children needing additional help with literacy. This manual contains suggestions on how the hard-pressed primary teacher can make the most effective use of even five minutes of extra assistance within a classroom that takes account of individual differences and needs.

Teachers should be able to turn to a member of staff with designated responsibilities for children with special needs—sometimes known as special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs). Every primary school is being asked to ensure that at least one teacher has the knowledge, skills and opportunities to work with colleagues in identifying pupils with difficulties and developing strategies for helping them. The 1993 Education Act and the Code of Practice make it mandatory for every school to have a policy on the identification and assessment of pupils with special educatonal needs. Early identification and intervention are essential to good special needs provision.

The Centre for Educational Needs at Manchester University has been working intensively with teachers to ensure means of access to the ‘broad, balanced and relevant curriculum’ to which all children are legally entitled. It has developed materials to support teachers in helping pupils with severe and complex learning difficulties gain access to the national curriculum and to benefit from the curriculum as a whole. In addition, Trevor Payne has instigated work with teachers of pupils with specific or moderate learning difficulties and collected examples of practice when the national curriculum was first introduced.

The present manual builds on these earlier initiatives. It provides a wealth of practical ideas for teachers wishing to help pupils with special needs in the areas of reading and spelling. It is based on much experience in the classroom and on many years of working with teachers in workshops and courses. It is rooted in our growing understanding of the foundations of literacy and the difficulties which some children experience with the learning processes involved.

Professor Peter Mittler

University of Manchester

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