I refer to your article, `Don't lead all readers up the same phonic path' (TES 26.03.04). Kate Ruttle is right to emphasise the importance of phonic knowledge in the development of literacy, however without good phonological awareness skills pupils are unable to use the knowledge they have acquired.
Her illustration of a pupil sounding out cr-i-sp and saying spit is an excellent example of a pupil with poor phonological awareness and specifically a difficulty with blending skills.
A pupil with good phonological awareness is able to reflect on the structure of words and use phonic knowledge alongside semantic, grammatical and orthographic clues to support reading and spelling.
Advisory Teacher for Language Impairment
Learning amp; Language Support