On April 18 and 19, 2024, English teachers from the Primary Section participated in a webinar series designed to introduce them to the benefits of using decodable readers in the classroom. The webinars, titled ‘Unlocking the Power of Decodable Readers in Your Classroom with Fitzroy Readers from Australia’, focused on the Fitzroy Method, a structured literacy approach that emphasises phonics instruction.

The webinars highlighted the underlying philosophy of the Fitzroy Method, which emphasises the relationship between spoken sounds and written letters. Presenters Faye Berryman and Nicholas Berryman explained that the programme follows a logical sequence, introducing basic letter sounds and gradually progressing to more complex digraphs and spelling rules. This systematic approach ensures that students develop a strong foundation in phonics, which is essential for reading fluency.

The presentation delved into the advantages of using decodable readers, such as the Fitzroy Readers programme. These readers are designed to align perfectly with the Fitzroy Method, providing students with engaging texts that reinforce their understanding of phonics concepts. The programme also incorporates essential grammar skills and writing exercises, promoting well-rounded literacy development.

A significant portion of the webinar explored the concept of phonics and its role in reading instruction. The presenters emphasised that phonics is a foundational skill that allows students to decode unfamiliar words by sounding them out. The webinar addressed common misconceptions about phonics, such as the belief that it is only useful for learning simple words. In reality, phonics provides a strong foundation for reading and spelling all types of words, including complex and multisyllabic ones.

The webinars on decodable readers provided valuable insights for the Primary Section English teachers. By equipping educators with the knowledge and resources necessary to implement the Fitzroy Method effectively, the school is committed to fostering a love of reading and ensuring that all students achieve literacy excellence.

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