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Understanding phonics

As Hilary Bills writes in her letter (TES, July 15), phonics on its own "will not produce fluent readers who understand the text".

The former, however, must come before the latter, and Dr Kevan Collins, national director of the primary national strategy, was in full agreement with Nick Gibb MP that "you cannot comprehend until you can decode", when addressing the Commons education select committee last year.

Comprehension can be built up subsequently upon this essential foundation, hence the restriction of the current independent review on the teaching of reading to synthetic phonics.

Rev John Brown 3 Manor Way Middleton-on-Sea West Sussex

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