Narrow reading

15th July 2005 at 01:00
I am surprised and disappointed that the independent review of the teaching of reading to be headed by Jim Rose focuses on synthetic phonics only.

Phonics on its own, whether synthetic or analytic, will not produce fluent readers who understand the text.

The 1975 Bullock report, the most comprehensive inquiry into English teaching to date, concluded "there is no one method, medium, approach, device or philosophy that holds the key to the process of learning to read".

The idea that the review will discover a Holy Grail method of teaching reading, effective with all pupils, regardless of age, ability or disposition, is a fallacy.

The Government has said that it is only interested in what works. I would like to see that reflected in the review.

Hilary Bills


National Union of Teachers, Hamilton House

Mabledon Place, London WC1

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