Letters Extra: Phonics v real books

28th February 2003 at 00:00

I refer to Sue Lloyd's assertion that '70 to 75 per cent of her pupils can `write what they want' at the end of their reception year. Why is phonics failing 25-30 per cent of her children? What percentage of them are boys and what'snbsp;being done about them?

My son was taught to read by a phonics enthusiasts of the 'Letterland' tribe. He too could write more or less what he wanted by the end of the reception year and now, coming to the end of Year 11, he still can't spell to save his life and voluntarily only reads the text on his video games. My other son was taught to read by a member of the 'real books' tribe, never needs a dictionary and feels naked without a book.

As each tribe ascends, the children whose learning style and stage of development have least to benefit from the tribe's totem and taboo are left in, or near, the wasteland of illiteracy. Furthermore, they cannot find their way out of this place, not because there is something wrong with them, but because they believe they can't.

When will the tribes have the courage to acknowledge there's no one method of teaching literacy that is effective for all children?
John Griffiths

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