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A few hours

It was encouraging to learn, from Kathy Sylva and Jane Hurry's research (TES, October 3), of further evidence that a mere seven hours of work on phonological awareness in key stage 1 has a lasting impact on the reading skills of socially disadvantaged children - not far short, in fact, of the impact of 50 hours of Reading Recovery.

It is not correct, though, to say that phonological training is not used regularly in any schools, or that we need to develop teaching programme in this area. Oxford Reading Tree's Rhyme and Analogy strand, Jo Wilson's PAT materials, and Sound Beginnings all provide phonological awareness programmes which are easy to use in the classroom.

The work of adapting the lessons from research into teaching strategies has already been done - what is needed now is for the National Literacy Programme to make sure that phonological awareness is part of the group work within the literacy hour for all children who have difficulty in learning to read and spell.


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