What did your pupils remember? That’s all that matters
Within a Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) framework, the Cognitive Science of ‘How Children Learn’ informs and enriches BRI decodable stories . A downloadable poster designed by the brilliant Oliver Caviglione https://www.olicav.com/
The cognitive science behind how children learn
THE POWER OF STORIES
"The human brain seems to be set up specially for the retention of stories. They sink in and they stay in the mind more easily than anything else… Things that create an emotional reaction will be better remembered. "
WHY DON’T STUDENTS LIKE SCHOOL?
BRI instruction takes place within 78 decodable animal tales. Each Alphabetic Code correspondence is introduced carefully, with extensive practice.
COGNITIVE LOAD THEORY
"With too great a cognitive load children lose track of what they’re doing, make mistakes, they get lost, give up. Even if they hang on long enough to solve the problem, they don’t have enough mental capacity left over to reflect on what they’ve done."
ANNIE PAUL MURPHY
Early BRI books are created from just three words and five sounds and gradually build up to avoid memory overload.
OVERLEARNING: PRACTISING BEYOND THE POINT OF CONFIDENCE
"Research shows that we routinely overestimate how much we will remember and underestimate how much we will forget. To encourage automaticity — effortless recall or performance — students should overlearn by practising beyond the point of confidence."
BRI stories offer extensive practice in foundational skills. Each new correspondence is introduced five times initially, and repeated frequently in different contexts.
"The mixing of items, skills, or concepts during practice, over the longer term, seems to help us to not only see the distinctions between them but also to achieve a clearer grasp of each one individually."
HOW WE LEARN
BRI’s mixing of related but distinct characteristics (e.g. see, me, sees) alerts children to the complexity of the Alphabetic Code.
"[Flexible knowledge] is of course a desirable goal, but it is not an easily achieved one. When encountering new material, the human mind appears to be biased towards learning the surface features of problems, not toward grasping the deep structure that is necessary to achieve flexible knowledge."
DANIEL WILLINGHAM https://www.aft.org/periodical/american-educator/
BRI scrupulously introduces a tiny selection of Advanced Alphabetic Code correspondences, encouraging both flexibility and early knowledge of the deeper structure of the Code.
"Find the core of your message: keep it simple."
Brevity, simplicity, and consistency are the cornerstones of BRI instruction for both teachers and pupils
RETRIEVAL: TESTING FROM MEMORY
BRI’s Spelling Books — introduced after the storybooks — underpin retrieval practice.