Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Why the Government is wrong about advocating a time-limited approach to phonics teaching (Part II).

In the last posting, I stated that about thirty to thirty-five percent of children of the sample (average age 7 years and three to four months) I was talking about were not yet more than two years above their chronological age. However, only between two and six percent were below their chronological age.
Is the two to six percent figure surprising? Not at all! In any human population, one would expect differentiation across the continuum, which is why it is fatuous for the Government or anyone else for that matter to prescribe an all encompassing formula and to try and apply it to an educational setting.
In our view, the pupils who are already well ahead (reading ages of nine and a half years and above) are off to a flying start and, with the right encouragement and the opportunity to develop further their reading and spelling abilities, they will continue to do well throughout the rest of their schooling and most of them will read for pleasure. Could they still benefit from the expert tuition provided by highly skilled teaching? Of course they could – and do!
But what about the pupils who lie in the rather more uncertain territory of being able to read and spell somewhere between just below or just above their CA (seven years and three to four months) and those who are up to two years above their CA - in other words, on the continuum between a reading and spelling age of six years and nine years and three months?
Tomorrow I hope to provide a partial answer to this question.

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