Welcome to Nomanis

The first question I suspect that many of you will be asking ‘Why Nomanis?’ or perhaps ‘What is Nomanis?’


To answer this we have to travel back in time nearly 50 years, to when I was an undergraduate at Manchester University in the late ‘60s. For reasons that escape me now, I became the editor of the newly formed Poetry Society magazine.


The committee cast around for a cool title but we could not agree on one until I suggested Nomanis, taking inspiration from the first line of John Donne’s famous poem that begins ‘No man is an island ...’. I think this magazine lasted for one issue and reading the mounds of undergraduate poetry submitted nearly put me off poetry for life. Oh the angst!


When it came to deciding upon a name for our new bulletin and this website about reading and related skills for parents, teachers and interested others, again we hit the wall until I remembered Nomanis and thought about its implications; it is a powerful plea for understanding the interconnectedness of us all to each other.


For me, reading has probably been the best way to achieve this and has truly been a joy for life. A love of reading from an early age allowed me respite, not to say escape, from the rather moribund life on a council housing estate in Derby in the UK in the 1950s.


Reading educated me not only intellectually but also spiritually too. Reading taught me to understand that other people lived very different lives from mine but also that, regardless of this, the essential human verities transcended class, race, gender and history.


As C. S. Lewis is credited with saying, in the play and film Shadowlands, “We read to know that we are not alone.” So when Tom Sawyer was trapped in the caves with ‘Injun Joe’, I was there too. I was on the Coral Island with Jack, Ralph and Peterkin. I was even at the Circus of Adventure with Jack, Phillip, Dinah and Lucy-Ann, not forgetting Kiki the parrot, of course. Later on I became Stephen Dedalus and then Paul Morel, at least for a while.


I like to think that this personal love of reading, and an early brush with reading difficulty (rapidly resolved by my formidable mother), led to my continuing academic interest in how reading might best be taught and how best to help low-progress readers.


I see this incarnation of Nomanis as a vehicle for promoting the ideas and evidence about effective instruction in reading and related skills, for teachers, parents, fellow professionals and policy makers.


Our aim is to provide readable and engaging accounts of developments in the teaching of reading and writing, distilled from the sometimes rather esoteric, and certainly dry, research literature. We welcome contributions and correspondence.


In fairness, it should also be stated upfront that Nomanis is published and totally funded by MultiLit Pty Ltd and is provided free to anyone who is interested. Please feel free to share with your colleagues and friends.


“Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee’.


Emeritus Professor Kevin Wheldall AM, Joint Editor