Our endeavour to reach a greater number of readers with the complimentary issue of newsletter no. 45 Synthetic Phonics has already reaped great rewards. Many people of various roles and responsibilities have contacted the RRF either to find out more about synthetic phonics teaching, or wishing to contribute invaluable news regarding phonics teaching in the UK and other English-speaking countries. The almost daily incoming information has delayed the publication of this issue as difficult decisions had to be made about the contents. I would like to apologise to those people who have kindly contributed material which I have subsequently postponed the appearance of, in order to focus on significant events both in New Zealand and here in England.
It appears that the formula for the RRF newsletter of mixing news, experiences, pointing to research and provoking thought has been very well-received. I would like to thank everyone for such kind words of encouragement, support and appreciation. This issue (no. 47) will reach 25,000 infant and primary schools. If your concern about each and every child’s literacy development reflects that of the Reading Reform Foundation and you appreciate the information we are disseminating, now is the time to give your practical support. Please act immediately to subscribe and contact us with your experiences, feelings and results. In addition we would be very grateful for donations from individuals, schools or companies, no matter how small, to help us with the production and posting of the newsletter. Please email or write to us if you would be interested in attending an RRF conference on Phonics proposed for next year.
We have new pages on the RRF website for ‘resources’ and ‘news’, and one planned for ‘tests’. There is also a growing number of links to other websites. I welcome any suggestions regarding material that you would like to see on the website or in the RRF newsletter. With the number of articles that you are contributing, these could be posted on the website where there is not the capacity to include them in the hard copy of the newsletters. For ‘back copies’ of newsletters no. 45 and no. 46 Synthetic Phonics Reduces Special Educational Needs, please send a large, stamped, self-addressed envelope [33p for one newsletter, 47p for two], plus £2 per newsletter required.Let us hope that we can collectively move this debate beyond words and pockets of successful teaching and enlightenment to a truly national approach – ensuring all individuals are at last properly guaranteed the opportunity of maximising their literacy potential. It is such a joy for teachers, parents and children when truly effective teaching of reading and writing methods are used and we urge all teachers to be interested in how their teaching approach measures up to others without fearing the outcomes of testing. We need to be curious, concerned, ambitious and informed, using simple testing to aid us – not to compound fears of embarrassment or competition. Please support us in this vision.