Fuzzy thinking on phonics;Letter

23rd July 1999 at 01:00
IT IS not surprising that inspectors have found schools failing to teach phonics properly. This is an area which has been poorly handled both in initial teacher training and in literacy initiatives.

The muddled guidance is illustrated in the most recent additional literacy support (ALS) initiative. Module 1 is for seven-year-olds who "cannot either read or spell CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words". A true phonics approach would teach the simple technique of first producing a phoneme for each letter and then blending the phonemes for the word.

The ALS materials, however, repeatedly garble this into an unworkable procedure in which the children first read the word (how, if they are children who "cannot either read or spell..."?) and then say the phonemes (why, if they have already read the word?).

Jennifer Chew

The Mount

Malt Hill

Egham, Surrey

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