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Phonics!


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I've noticed there has been a lot of interest in the phonics debate judging by the viewing figures of two recent posts on the subject. I've found another interesting article by Tom Burkard, who is the Director of The Promethean Trust, a Norfolk charity which teaches parents how to help their children with intensive phonics. It's another long, but very readable article entitled 'What every teacher and parent should know about synthetic phonics.'

 

http://www.promethean.fsnet.co.uk/synthetic.htm

 

Regards

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Thanks for that, Mousebat :) I'll pass the link onto a friend of mine whose children are dyslexic, and have had real problems at school. She is adamant that phonics didn't/wouldn't/couldn't work but maybe this article will persuade her otherwise!

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There is a very good article about phonics and the synthetic approach in this weeks TES on page 24 entitled' Is synthetic phonics really the Holy Grail of reading?' It is by Dominic Wyse, a lecturer in Cambridge. He challenges the research with some very clear arguments for an eclectic approach I think. He comes out strongly for phonics teaching begin concentrate for children of 5 and 6 (Y1) which fits in with Sue Palmer's 'Foundations Of Literacy' . He does emphasise that books are very important in the early stages as well. Well that is roughly what he seems to be saying.

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Can anyone recommend a reading scheme which would work alongside the synthetic phonics approach, please?

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Hi all

 

Helen - It might be worth your friend trying SP - it wouldn't do any harm!

Has she tried http://dyslexics.org.uk/ - this is an excellent website with a lot of information.

 

Jacqui - I shall be out to buy my copy of TES tomorrow. Thanks for mentioning the article. It sounds like something I would be very interested in. Once I've read it I'll be able to give an informed response.

 

 

glmaidment - For my reception class I use Jelly and Bean and Ruth Miskin books. Jolly Phonics also produce decodable readers. There is also SoundStart by Nelson Thorne but I don't know much about it. The website reading a-z.com has downloadable readers.

If anyone knows of other schemes I would be interested as well.

 

 

 

Regards

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I have now read "Is synthetic phonics really the holy grail of reading?"

 

Yes, Mr Wyse does seem to advocate that a range of reading strategies need to be developed but certainly not based on the current NLS!!

However, it is also fairly well known that the TES tends to be anti synthetic

phonics. look where this article was put. It took me a while to find it.

 

The trouble is a lot of professionals tend to say no to synthetic phonics without having tried it properly or for long enough. I've worked by NLS method and the synthetic phonic method. I know which method I prefer as I'm seeing amazing results in my classroom.

 

Debbie Hepplewhite wrote a response to the article and I know she would like it to be seen here for those who are interested.

 

"We complain about the Times Educational Supplement publishing anti-phonics, and now anti-synthetic phonics articles in the belief that the TES is biased against phonics and tends to support whole language proponents.

 

I have always wondered what the 'set up' is behind the scenes and whether these people supplying the anti-phonics articles are invited or simply offer to supply their contributions.

 

Well, I have approached the TES about writing an article, about writing an article about the Reading Reform Foundation and about offering the services of one of our experts such as Prof Diane McGuinness to write an article - I got short shrift from the editor even though this was the time of the DfES phonics seminar in 2003.

 

We have had, however, one or two factual letters printed.

 

It is time that we became more pro-active. We will find out if the TES is anti-synthetic phonics and anti the Reading Reform Foundation when we have provided the TES with a continuous supply of articles and letters in a publishable length and the TES editor has continuously failed to publish them.

 

I would have been more pro-active before now, but I am always pushed for time. From September the situation will be somewhat different and I will be more able to fulfil a broader range of activities!

 

I find it very interesting that it is clearly causing considerable upset that so many of the phonics proponents and the Reading Reform Foundation were afforded prime time to inform the House of Commons committee in the recent inquiry about teaching children to read. (See Dominic Wyse's article in this week's TES, 'Is synthetic phonics really the holy grail of reading?'). Wyse asks, "Why were these people, who are all synthetic phonics evangelists, invited to give evidence, while others with a more critical view of phonics teaching were not?"

 

Considering that HMI and Ofsted have stated year after year after year that the teaching of phonics was non-existent or inadequate in schools, then surely the surprise is that phonics proponents have been sidelined for years?

 

People were free to submit their memorandums and their results to the committee. And I think it is most pertinent to point out that the synthetic phonics proponents could easily be replaced by the description 'evidence-based proponents' - and this is what we would probably have preferred.

 

Interestingly, many of we synthetic phonics proponents could also be described as 'experienced primary teachers'. Take your pick.

 

We have also (as followers of this debate understand full well) requested over and again statistics from the DfES exemplar schools to no effect. We have asked over and again for statistics from the DfES objective testing of the NLS programmes to no effect. Now why would that be?

 

Maybe, Mr Wyse, there was a lack of people who could give evidence with more impressive results than the long-standing results of Sue Lloyd's school where she taught for many years and where the school changed its methods to synthetic phonics with impressive effect, or Ruth Miskin's school where she was headteacher and achieved reading results in the top 5% of the country with EAL children.

 

The surprise is, not that we were listened to on this occasion, but that we haven't been listened to for many decades.

 

And why would Ruth Kelly and Kevan Collins now try to claim that the NLS reading instruction programmes and training are "in line with the synthetic phonics groups of the Clackmannanshire study" when we know they are not?

 

I would urge everyone to put pen to paper and write to the TES about their experiences following a change to synthetic phonics teaching. This could be in letter form or article form. If they never appear, only then will we know that the TES has a totally unacceptable bias and it is not fit to describe itself as the leading educational newspaper.

 

Maybe it is time that the TES had some competition!"

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Wow Mousebat I hope you have sent this in letter form to the TES!! Mind you I would rather leave the more formal teaching to Y1 and go with the holistic experiential approaches that children have in European countries.

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I agree with Jacquie about the formal phonics teaching, I think the foundation stage should focus more on rhyme through nursery and finger rhymes. We try to have a rhyme a week - I send the words home as many parents do not know the rhymes even the old fashion nursery rhyme.

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Thanks weightman, I've had a brief look and it doesnt look quite so 'icky' as some american sites. I particulaly like the ryhme 'If all the world was paper', a favorite when I was little. The site could prove useful :D

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Thanks for that link Weightman-it has some useful ideas on there. I had to smile to myself though when I saw the bit about "Eating hamburgers is such a thrill when we cook them on the......" You can imagine that some bright spark is going to miss the whole point of the activity and say barbeque!!! :oxD

Linda

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