According to Tom Burkard (TES, May 9), children shouldn't be given books to read until they've completed a phonic programme. It's so depressing hearing someone banging that drum again.
He points out that the activities involved in a whole language approach don't "help poor readers to master essential phonological skills". Of course they don't: they help them to master other important concepts about literacy.
The particular phonics approach he mentions (described in Sue Lloyd's Phonics Handbook) has many strengths, and I recommend it widely. But using it doesn't preclude using other approaches.
Code-driven and meaning-driven methods of teaching reading are not mutually exclusive.
SUE PALMER 11 St George's Road Truro, Cornwall
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