Keep an open mind on literacy;Letter

26th June 1998 at 01:00
It would be a pity if Sue Palmer's negative comments in her review of Diane McGuiness's book Why Children Can't Read and What We Can Do About It (TES, June 12) dissuade primary teachers from exploring this most interesting and cogent source of evidence about the alphabet and learning to read it.

McGuiness's claims regarding the evidence upon which her approach is based should not be dismissed so lightly ("highly selective research evidence").

Primary teachers, like professionals in medicine and other disciplines, are under increasing pressure to demonstrate to the public that they know what they are doing. The first three years of schooling are probably the most important in a child's life and becoming literate is certainly the most important element in these years.

By holding fast to the line that the National Literacy Strategy has all the answers and any evidence that challenges its underlying assumptions should be dismissed, Sue Palmer gives the unfortunate (and doubtless wholly misleading) impression of being a bigot rather than an open-minded seeker after truth.

Chris Godwin The Dutch House Pangbourne Road Upper Basildon Berkshire

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