Saturday, July 02, 2011

Doing the rounds

Two stories on the blogosphere worth browsing are:
John Bald’s response to attacks on phonics in the TES (17 06 2011). One such condemnation can be found in a letter from Professor Colin Richards, Spark Bridge, Cumbria, entitled ‘One man's jihad is just another man's phonics’. Who is the humorist Colin Richards and I wonder if he has ever set foot in a classroom and taught young children to read? Now that really would be something to laugh about, I’d wager.
The other is a posting by Catherine Johnson from kitchen table math entitled ‘do students learn to read from beginning to end?’
Interestingly, on the latter question, when I showed some Primary Mathematics: Challenging Word Problems (SingaporeMath) books to a head teacher friend of mine the other day, quite apart from how well structured they are from a mathematical perspective, he commented on the language of the word problems set in the books. Each question requires learners to read every word very carefully; otherwise, they risk missing out an important step in solving the problem.


  1. Colin Richards was a primary head many moons ago - but I have a strong suspicion that he expected the children at his school to 'discover' the alphabet code for themselves and for reading to 'emerge'.

  2. Hmm. Thanks, Anon. As I've argued before (, the trouble with many heads and others who've reached a relatively high position in the echelons of the educational bureaucracy is that they think they are experts on everything, especially the teaching of reading.
    I wonder if our Colin is one of those?