Qualifying as a teacher in 1964 Susan originally taught using the ‘look and say’ method with her primary school pupils. Her head of department changed the method to ‘synthetic phonics’ and the school noticed a vast improvement in reading and spelling with all children achieving average or above average ability.
In 1990 Susan met Chris Jolly the founder of Jolly Learning, who was also interested in the structure of English language and how the alphabetic code worked. As a small independent publisher the two worked together to produce ‘The Phonics Handbook’ in order to share Susan’s teaching methods. Retiring from teaching in 2003 Susan concentrated on Phonics training and has since trained teachers in 29 different countries. Susan is driven to support the learning of the 20% of children who find learning to read and write very difficult. These children can be supported and achieve results if they are taught with the synthetic phonics method and decodable readers. Susan’s passion for the teaching method has recently led her to be awarded the MBE for introducing synthetic phonics which has now been made government policy in the UK.
More recently Susan is devoting her time to create a synthetic phonics website to explain what should be taught and why some children struggle and how to support them.