Continuing the theme I developed yesterday, for pupils operating at a level below or just above their chronological age, we at Sounds-Write strongly believe they will still need a lot of further exposure if they are going to become independent readers and spellers by the time they leave the primary phase. For this reason, we would advocate at least two more years of explicit, structured teaching of phonics (i.e. throughout Y2 and Y3). Furthermore, we think that ALL pupils would benefit from this extra instruction – the more able pupils working at polysyllabic level and developing greater fluency.
In addition, any pupils, and these would mostly be pupils who have made a very slow start in YR and Y1, not making the kind of progress needed to enable them to become independent, would need extra small group or one-to-one high quality targeted intervention.
To return to a point I have made a number of times before: All spoken languages are phonic in nature and our brains have developed phonically-based structures for: (1) memory and recall of information stored in the form of language; (2) thinking that involves language; and (3) knowledge of the meaning of words in line with increasing human comprehension of the world around us.
Our language is completely phonic and therefore phonic knowledge and understanding of our language underpins our thinking throughout the whole of our lives and must necessarily underpin our understanding of the written word.
Phonic tuition is not something that promotes a quick start to literacy development and can then rapidly be neglected. Accurate phonics tuition must continue to be taught to each and every pupil until they achieve the same level of mastery necessary for fluent literacy skills as the level of mastery they originally achieved to become fluent speakers of English.
Sounds-Write completely repudiates facile injunctions which claim that phonics tuition is only relevant for Reception and Y1 after which it can be rapidly dropped from the curriculum in Y2.
The bottom line is that ALL children have an entitlement to be taught to be literate.