One way cannot be the best for all
In these responses, far from "scaremongering" (TES Letters, March 24), we have presented a balanced review of research evidence in relation to the teaching of early reading.
The UKLA is not opposed to synthetic phonics; we are against developing a national policy which suggests that one approach to the teaching of phonics is the solution for all children.
The support for synthetic phonics as the most effective strategy is not supported by robust research evidence. A systematic review by the National Reading Panel in the US in 2000 found that the difference in effectiveness between analytic and synthetic phonics was statistically indistinguishable.
A DfES-commissioned systematic review which has just been published (Torgerson, Brooks and Hall, 2006) draws exactly the same conclusion. We were pleased to hear of the alleged success of Dr Grant's programme (Letters, March 24).
We assume that if this research project met the criteria for robust research evidence set by the DfES review team, then it would have been taken into consideration in their review.
There is obviously a need to conduct careful research to determine what strategies are effective, for which children, in which circumstances.
Dr Jackie Marsh (president)Professor Kathy Hall (president-elect) UK Literacy Association Upton House, Baldock Street Royston, Hertfordshire