A new skirmish in the so-called 'reading wars' has once again broken out. This time in Australia!
A group of reading experts has written to the Education Minister Julia Gillard to complain that draft recommendations on the shape of the new English curriculum have omitted significant elements from previous recommendations made in an initial advice paper on English, released by the curriculum board last October. The most important of these omissions is the explicit teaching of sound to print correspondences, required to teach children to read and spell.
The details of the latest spat are set out pretty clearly by Yvonne Meyer on the Reading Reform Foundation site. And, you can read how The Australian has reported the issue.
The long and short of it is that this is yet another head-on clash between the advocates of whole language, in the guise of the three-cueing system (Searchlights strategy in the UK), and the proponents of synthetic and linguistic phonics. Unfortunately, Barry McGaw, the chair of board charged with overseeing the new guidelines, is no Jim Rose. McGaw seems to have turned his back on evidence-based research, leaving the reading experts on the outside looking in – for now!