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Phonics debate continues to split opinion

Regarding "A reading test that's hard to comprehend" (Letters, 25 March), research undertaken by the National Assessment Agency in 2007 showed a strong link between the attainment of some foundation stage profile scale points and outcomes at the end of key stage 1.

Knowledge of the alphabetic code and the ability to decode words phonetically were insufficient "on their own" to ensure high levels of later attainment. To ensure the likelihood of success in reading and writing at the end of Year 2, these needed to be coupled with the ability to use and understand spoken language and be able to maintain attention and concentration.

Not only would the proposed decoding test at Year 1 fail to identify those at risk of underachieving in literacy, it would narrow the received curriculum of children in Year 1 and deny them the experiences to ensure they become confident readers and writers.

Marie Charlton, Jan Dubiel and Liz Marsden, Early Excellence; www.earlyexcellence.com.

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