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Give reading plans a rougher ride

A remarkable report was published last month by the MPs on the Commons' science and technology committee: "Evidence Check 1: Early Literacy Interventions".

The committee found that policies for helping struggling readers appear to be based on poor research and pressure from lobby groups.

Moreover, the Government's choice, Reading Recovery, conflicts with the policy that systematic phonics should be at the heart of its own strategy for teaching children to read.

The headline on the front page of The TES could have read: "Government spends millions without considering alternatives." With the sub-head: "Decision to use Reading Recovery as core intervention was based on poor evidence".

Or: "Government priorities apparently based on pressures from lobby groups." Accompanied by: "MPs say an overemphasis on dyslexia may disadvantage other children with profound reading difficulties."

Instead, you printed a short article on December 18 ("Reading drive probed") and three lines mentioning it in a longer article otherwise praising Reading Recovery ("Effect of Reading Recovery is long term, study finds", January 8). Why the lack of interest?

Elizabeth Nonweiler, Reading Reform Foundation;

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