All Quiet on the Phonics Front?
In the first of a series of discussions focused on the Coalition's new White Paper
Does the White Paper tell us that the battle over reading instruction is over? Is the evidence for the effectiveness of systematic synthetic phonics as compelling as is claimed? If it is, why have results not improved, in spite of the widespread adoption of phonics in schools? If the evidence is strong, is the practical issue how programmes based on this method can be developed? But should they be devised by teachers, or by government? And is there a danger that teachers will teach to the new mandatory phonics test? If they do, will this result in the exclusion of other approaches that teachers see as valuable?
Tom Burkard, expert in reading instruction; author, Inside the Secret Garden: The Progressive Decay of Liberal Education and School Quangos: A Blueprint for Abolition and Reform