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Solo reading practice squanders hours

It was wonderful to read Gerald Haigh pulling the plug on that ridiculous phrase "hearing the reading" (TES, October 11). As he points out, anyone can "hear" children read - teachers should be getting on with teaching them how to do it.

For this, the most successful method seems to be a mixture of class teaching (for example, modelling reading as you share "Big Books" or working on phonic songs and activities) and group teaching. I agree with Mr Haigh that the most productive group work takes place when all the children have access to the same text.

Both these sorts of teaching are time-consuming, but both use time as productively as possible. However, usually because of parental pressure, many teachers feel obliged to squander hours every week doing little more than listening to children read individually. The sequential structure of traditional reading schemes reinforces this system, as parents are naturally anxious to see their children move through them as swiftly as possible. The sooner we can change this culture the better.

SUE PALMER General editor Longman Book Project 11 St George's Road Truro

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