Alphabet Headaches - Literacy challenges for non-alphabetic English learners

1. About Reading

Children of the Code
- an enormous website, full of videos and interviews with leading reading researchers

- an online encyclopedia of writing systems and languages
- an absolutely fascinating website
- how dare we just assume that our romanised, alphabetic writing system is already established in all of our learners' skill-sets, when so many may have learned a completely different script based on completely different foundations

Reading Rockets
- a huge website with a lot of research-based information, teaching suggestions and videos about the reading process

Teaching Handwriting, Reading and Spelling Skills
Australian website:
UK website:
- a flexible, 44-sound-based approach to teaching phonological skills to all ages
- their wall-charts resemble the 'periodic table of the elements' and are a useful addition to any classroom
- all 44 sounds are there, somewhere, and just knowing this can be reassuring for many students

Phonics International
Loads of useful charts and teaching advice from the UK's Debbie Hepplewhite:

Phonics Blitz
- a highly commercial, US-based programme
- way too expensive, but their free downloads and videos are very informative

More resources for working with sounds
3,800 minimal pairs – used by speech therapists:
Two huge charts of minimal pairs, contrasting every sound against every other:
A chart of 200+ rimes:
Excellent lists of sounds in all positions in words:
Word solver/searcher – find words containing certain letter combinations:

2. About the Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Pauline's Cocos interview on SBS TV:
- my interview on "Dateline" in 2012 regarding language rights on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands

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