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Reading Reform Foundation (RRF) - Promoting Synthetic Phonics : Page Title

RRF Newsletter 50 back to contents
Trainees 'not taught to teach reading', (Daily Telegraph, Nov 2002) John Clare

Students training to be primary school teachers at Cambridge University still did not know how to teach reading at the end of a four-year degree course, Ofsted said yesterday.

It found that the teaching of reading - and, in particular, the method known as phonics - at what claims to be "a centre of excellence in a world-class university" left much to be desired.

The day after reporting that 200,000 seven-year-olds could not read properly because of the way they were taught, Ofsted criticised Cambridge for giving reading "too little attention".

It said the underlying principle of the four-year course taken by 150 trainees was "the progression of language in relation to texts, to the development of the child as a reader, writer, speaker and listener, to teaching and classroom practice".

However, the teaching of phonics - which requires children to learn how the sounds of words are written - was considered only briefly at the start of the course and not re-visited before trainees began their teaching practice towards the end.

"This contributed to a minority of fourth-year trainees lacking confidence in teaching early literacy skills and addressing reading difficulties with older pupils," the report said.

"The trainees' theoretical knowledge of the national literacy strategy is good but their pedagogical knowledge of how to teach word-level work and all the components of a literacy hour is less secure."

Cambridge has been training teachers for 150 years.

Reprinted with permission




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