One, Two Three and Away! Series by Sheila K. McCullagh

The Village With Three Corners

Message to grown ups

One, Two, Three and Away!

Access The Village with Three Corners stories as videos and booklets in the member's area.
These were used a 'reading scheme' in the UK, in the 80s, and are out of print. 
Miss Emma is bring back 'The Hats'!

Sheila K. McCullagh MBE (3 December 1920 – 7 July 2014) was an English author. Born in Surrey, her work was first published in the 1950s. Since then she went on write many children’s fantasy and educational books, including Dragon Pirate Stories, Griffin Pirate Stories, Puddle Lane, The Village with Three Corners or One Two Three and Away, Tim and the Hidden People (series) Hummingbirds, Seahawk, Buccaneers (series) - Illustrated by Derek Collard, Adventures in Space, Little Dragons
and of course Puddle Lane (for television) 


She died  July 7, 2014 in Bradford on Avon, United Kingdom


The stories are written with the honourable intention of wanting children to experience pleasure during the learning to read phase. As they are not written using a scaffolded number of high frequency graphemes (as within a commercial phonics program) they were criticised for 'encouraging three cueing strategies', which was heavily discouraged in the UK following the Rose Report .

In the Primary National Strategy (2006a), the three cueing model (known in Great Britain as the Searchlight model) is finally and explicitly discredited. Instead, the Strategy has acknowledged the value of addressing decoding and comprehension separately in the initial stage of reading instruction."

"… attention should be focused on decoding words rather than the use of unreliable strategies such as looking at the illustrations, rereading the sentence, saying the first sound or guessing what might 'fit'. Although these strategies might result in intelligent guesses, none of them is sufficiently reliable and they can hinder the acquisition and application of phonic knowledge and skills, prolonging the word recognition process and lessening children's overall understanding."

"Children who routinely adopt alternative cues for reading unknown words, instead of learning to decode them, later find themselves stranded when texts become more demanding and meanings less predictable. The best route for children to become fluent and independent readers lies in securing phonics as the prime approach to decoding unfamiliar words (Primary National Strategy, 2006b, p.9)."



So these 'reading schemes' and also 'levelled' readers (eg F&P or used within PM benchmarking) were very much discouraged. The approach introduces high frequency words and controls the number of words, and uses illustrations so the children can guess or predict words, and deduce meaning. However if words were shown outside of the books the children may not 'remember' them.
They are predictable and can be repetitive.

There was little attention to phonics other than 'first sound'. This approach can fail a lot of children. It is essential, if children are to read the stage of using 'orthogaphic mapping' (to read without conscious thought) and to be able to spell well (without memorising words) that students understand how speech sounds (phonemes) map with the 'pictures of the speech sounds' ie the graphemes. So that when we say the word 'said' we are using three speech sounds, even though there are 4 letters, and that the word would be segmented as s/ai/d When words are taught as whole words this deprives children of the opportunity to understand this 'mapping', and apply this knowledge to better attempt to decode unfamiliar words, and to spell (encode)them.This is why so many push for a 'phonics' approach, however they can ignore the obvious - teachers can't cover nearly enough of these phoneme to grapheme connections to read and spell independently.  So the 'whole language' approach omits a systematic approach to teaching the code, many 'phonics' program do not teach high frequency words as they would all other words, and are not fast-paced or comprehensive enough to ensure that every child reaches the 'self-teaching' stage early, so that they can 'take over' their own learning - through more reading and exploration of words. 


I have created a third option, so that more children can learn to read by being taught 100+ high frequency graphemes within 4 'Code Levels' (that align to decodable readers) in addition to the other 250+ within inquiry learning type activities (The Speedy Six Spelling activities) and by learning high frequency words - not by memory but as 'pictures of speech sounds'.







Children ALSO watch videos with text that has been segmented (as they would using the IPA) while listening to the speech sounds - using my 'follow the sounds, say the words' technique. I also use Monster Mapping, with each 'character' being an alternative to a phonetic symbol. They can therefore work out ANY words, by seeing the word 'Code Mapped' AND 'Monster Mapped'   


We can do away with 'The Reading Wars' by discarding both 'whole language' AND 'phonics' as 'inclusive solutions' to teaching reading and spelling. 

It is called 'Code Mapping' and is the approach I have taken, as a teacher. Nothing I was ever given met the needs of ALL of my students. So I created solutions. It's what we do, as teachers - if we are not blocked.  


I am more than happy to teach, on camera, any child who needs me, so that policy makers and researchers can SEE what works, for themselves. And in another year, or 5 years I will be even better at this. Children will learn more quickly, with more independence, and for greater pleasure. As teachers we are NEVER satisfied when it comes to our students.  

As teachers we can often know far more than policy makers or researchers who simply follow old or 'rebranded' paths, and try to make the teaching of reading and spelling something that can be written as a 'one size fits all' curriculum document, or be measured. Great teachers are ALWAYS learning, and wanting to be even better teachers. Why not come and learn from us?


“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let's Read!

Miss Emma, The Reading Whisperer
BEd Hons. MA Special Educational Needs. Doctoral Student (University of Reading)


One, Two, Three and Away! The Village With Three Corners

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