Out, damned phonics . . .;Letter

9th April 1999 at 01:00
In your report on the Centre for Policy Studies pamphlet An End to Illiteracy? (TES, March 26) you explained that "analytical" and "synthetic" phonics both focus on "the building blocks which make up language".

This rather undermines what the National Literacy Strategy's framework for teaching says about that other linguistic building block, the morpheme:

"The smallest unit of meaning. A word may consist of one morpheme (house), two morphemes (houses; housing) or three or moremorphemes (housekeeping; unhappiness)."

We have here an historic breakthrough on the part of the National Literacy Strategy, and the Government in its wisdom, while steering teachers between the extremes of phonics, might be tempted to echo Mercutio (in, is it, Shakespeare in Love?). A plague on both your houses.

John Mountford

69 Glen Eyre Road

Southampton

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