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Just phonics lifts boys

Teaching reading through phonics exclusively can narrow the achievement gap, according to a six-year study at St Michael's Church of England primary in Stoke Gifford, Gloucestershire.

Teachers focused on the link between letters on the page and their sounds, abandoning "whole word" techniques.

Boys' results showed most dramatic improvements. A third of those in the study reached level 5 in writing, compared to 9.5 per cent in the local authority and 11 per cent nationally.

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