Reading methods hinder writing

13th October 2000 at 01:00
DIANE Hofkins is right (TES, September 29) to say that writing lags behind reading at key stage 2, partly because writing is harder than reading and partly because important aspects of writing have hitherto not been taught very well.

But there is a further complication: popular methods of teaching reading have not encouraged all the possible spin-offs into writing which should occur after the very early stages.

For example, good spelling is correlated with accurate attention to all the letters in words in reading and the need for such attention has often been layed down by reading theorists.

The National Literacy Strategy has not fully addressed this problem. In the additional literacy support video, for instance, we see a Year 3 child unable to read the word "soft", and a classroom assistant telling her to "look at the beginning" and then think about "what would make sense".

Sounding out all the letters in "soft" would have been a far more efficient way of reading it and would also have reinforced the child's understanding of spelling principles.

Jennifer Chew

Malt Hill



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