Elizabeth Nonweiler Bio 2

Elizabeth is an experienced teacher who specialises in synthetic phonics. Over recent years, she has been employed in a variety of roles to provide advice for the UK government and others on the teaching of reading in schools in England.

For over thirty years Elizabeth taught pupils of all ages from nursery to adult. She was trained to use a mix of methods for the initial teaching of reading, but when she began teaching with Jolly Phonics, according to synthetic phonics principles, she was inspired by the children’s progress and the logic of the method. Nothing is more rewarding for teachers than to see children learn and grow in confidence as a result of their teaching. However, she was unwilling to be swayed only by her own experience, or even by the anecdotal evidence of other teachers convinced of the benefits of synthetic phonics. She studied relevant postgraduate courses, looked into the research and found conclusive evidence in favour of a synthetic phonic approach.

Elizabeth began to teach individual children with serious reading problems. She soon realised that their problems, without exception, had been made worse by the very methods she once promoted. These children all made good progress when they were taught systematically to use phonic knowledge for word reading and spelling. Through her postgraduate work with children with reading difficulties, Elizabeth became an Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association (AMBDA).

By this time Elizabeth was looking for a way to share her experience and knowledge with other teachers, and she began to train in the UK. Then an opportunity came to introduce synthetic phonics to the schools of two small islands in the Caribbean. Elizabeth went on from there to train teachers at more than three hundred venues in the UK, Africa, the Caribbean and Europe. Her courses were about the initial teaching of reading, ensuring progression and teaching basic skills to older children or adults who struggled to read and write.

Elizabeth has experience in the use of a range of synthetic phonics programmes and resources, including Jolly Phonics, Sound Discovery, Phonics International, the Oxford Sound Reading System, Read Write Inc and BRI. She has reviewed several reading programmes, interventions and resources. She is the author of ‘No Nonsense Phonics’, little books for all age groups that provide practice in decoding words at the same time as extending vocabulary and telling fascinating facts.