UKLA fights back against SP with 'Teaching Reading' booklet

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Susan Godsland
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UKLA fights back against SP with 'Teaching Reading' booklet

Post by Susan Godsland » Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:48 pm

UKLA publishes Teaching Reading: What the evidence says (with a foreword by Michael Rosen)
This new booklet gives UKLA’s balanced approach to enabling more children to become readers.
Recent policy announcements about primary education from the UK’s coalition government have focused on the teaching of reading. In its business plan, published on November 12th, the government included the target of promoting "systematic synthetic phonics in schools" to remedy low reading scores. The government is also planning to introduce "a simple reading test" for six-year-olds to help identify those who need extra help. This is likely to be a non-word reading test.

In this important booklet Henrietta Dombey and colleagues in the UKLA and the International Reading Association draw on abundant evidence from both sides of the Atlantic to show that what actually works in the classroom is a more comprehensive, integrated and flexible approach.

UKLA argues that phonics is not enough; both moves are unhelpful and Teaching Reading sets out a research-informed alternative approach.

In addition UKLA has published an accompanying statement which gives 5 clear reasons to show why a ‘non-word reading test’ would be unproductive.

Both publications are also available in printed form from UKLA for £5
http://www.ukla.org/news/ukla_publishes ... word_by_m/

Linked to this story in the TES
Former laureate warns of threat to joy of reading
The increasing emphasis on using phonics in primary schools, backed by faulty evidence, risks turning children off reading, according to a report published today.

In his introduction to the report by the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA), former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen accuses ministers of pushing the approach to reading because it corresponds with "their party's philosophy-of-the-moment".

The report, Teaching Reading: what the evidence says, warns that placing more focus on phonics - which the coalition Government plans to do - will make children enjoy books less. "Restricting them to an unbalanced diet, the thin gruel of a phonics-dominated approach, is a recipe for lowering standards and turning children against the written word," it states.

Mr Rosen writes that ministers of different political shades had given their backing to phonics without recognising its drawbacks, which include that English is "not written in a consistently 'phonic' way". "By and large (ministers) don't listen to teachers and they don't look at research - particularly if it's research about how children learn," he writes. "Instead they look for 'favourites', experts whose views correspond with their party's philosophy-of-the-moment".

Supporters of phonics, which have included the right-wing think-tank the Centre for Policy Studies, have pointed to individual examples of schools where reading standards have improved after the introduction of more rigorous synthetic phonics. But Mr Rosen suggested that standard research practice had been abandoned in some case studies, as pupils had not been compared to a suitable control group.

The UKLA, a professional association made up of teachers and education academics, calls in its report for schools to use a balanced approach to reading, which includes teaching pupils to pronounce written words, and promoting understanding and engagement.

The report notes that Clackmannanshire, a local authority in Scotland celebrated for its use of phonics, had seen below-average scores in Scotland's national reading tests. "It makes no sense to direct all England's primary schools up the Clackmannanshire cul-de-sac", it says.
http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6063586

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Re: UKLA fights back against SP with 'Teaching Reading' booklet

Post by Susan Godsland » Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:53 pm

UKLA Autumn newsletter

Read David Reedy's front page message, 'Mad, bad and dangerous: the new policy on reading'

http://www.ukla.org/download.php?file=/ ... mn2010.pdf

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Re: UKLA fights back against SP with 'Teaching Reading' booklet

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:16 am

David Reedy trots out the word list: the, once, said, come, is, was - as examples of words which cannot be tackled through phonics - he is so wrong.

Of the words above, only 'once' is strange at the beginning - but can be introduced as a pair of words 'one, once' to be able to show a pattern of spelling.

Part of synthetic phonics teaching is about training children to become very adept at sounding out and blending words - and modifying pronunciation. The words above are very soundable outable and blendable followed by some 'tweaking'.

In any event, synthetic phonics in our modern context is addressing a comprehensive number of letter/s-sound correspondences and focuses on training children to be really good 'blenders'. This means that they can soon blend huge numbers of words compared to a handful of tricky words which may cause some hiccups - but often do not - especially with good synthetic phonics teaching.

You know, it strikes me that this is about 'in the scale of things'.

For example, 'in the scale of things', a few words to highlight for extra attention is nothing compared to the new and unknown words that children can soon access.

Further, there seems to be lots of attention being paid to the notion that initial synthetic phonics teaching is at the expense of comprehension. This is not true. If children can decode words which are within their oral vocabularies, then they understand them pretty much automatically.

And then, as teachers introduce the cumulative word banks for decoding, new words can be introduced in terms of enriching vocabularies too.

Finally, the children do not get starved of literature and synthetic phonics teachers are no more, or less, likely to love and enthuse about books than any other teacher! That is a sheer fallacy.

On the contrary, synthetic phonics teachers are very aware that the children are MORE likely to get enthusiastic about books and reading BECAUSE THEY CAN READ THE WORDS.

I find the lack of common sense amongst those who argue such silly points to be really surprising. Why is this?

Is it because they genuinely don't understand the kind of overall provision of early years teachers in terms of communication, language and literacy in synthetic phonics classrooms? Do they really think the children have no books and no other language and literacy-based provision? How bizarre that they should think this - or accuse us of promoting such an impoverished diet.

Do they not read anything we put out there in the public domain?

Are they even trying to understand the essential differences in reading instruction methods?

Are they not aware of the amazing spelling capacity brought about by synthetic phonics teaching which includes the reverse skill of segmenting for spelling?

Are we all on the same planet in fact?

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Re: UKLA fights back against SP with 'Teaching Reading' booklet

Post by Susan Godsland » Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:44 am

There seems to be concerted effort at the moment by the WL advocates to belittle SP teaching.

They must be extremely rattled by the relentless efforts being made by the present education dept. to instill SP in the early years.

Look at this diatribe from a primary teacher no less; shame on him and pity the children at his school:

My-Kul Gove: beware synthetic phonics

http://thinkpolitics.co.uk/tpblogs/teac ... c-phonics/

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Re: UKLA fights back against SP with 'Teaching Reading' booklet

Post by maizie » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:12 pm

Susan Godsland wrote:Look at this diatribe from a primary teacher no less; shame on him and pity the children at his school:
See if you can spot the glaring lapse in logic (not to mention common sense!) in the comments about the proposed decoding test...

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Re: UKLA fights back against SP with 'Teaching Reading' booklet

Post by Susan Godsland » Sat Nov 27, 2010 3:03 pm

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6063586
The increasing emphasis on using phonics in primary schools, backed by faulty evidence, risks turning children off reading, according to a report published today.

In his introduction to the report by the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA), former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen accuses ministers of pushing the approach to reading because it corresponds with "their party's philosophy-of-the-moment".

The report, Teaching Reading: what the evidence says, warns that placing more focus on phonics - which the coalition Government plans to do - will make children enjoy books less. "Restricting them to an unbalanced diet, the thin gruel of a phonics-dominated approach, is a recipe for lowering standards and turning children against the written word," it states.
Hey ho! Look who has responded to 'maizie' and 'chipperfield's comments on the article; Steiner advocate and trustee for http://londonwaldorftrust.co.uk/index.php?id=1#c1 , Dr Richard House, though as usual he's rather coy, perhaps understandably, about advertising that fact.

This is what Steiner himself had to say about the teaching of reading and writing in his book, ‘The Kingdom of Childhood’:

‘'People will object that the children then learn to read and write too late. That is said only because it is not known today how harmful it is when the children learn to read and write too soon. It is a very bad thing to be able to write early. Reading and writing as we have them today are really not suited to the human being till a later age - the eleventh or twelfth year - and the more a child is blessed with not being able to read and write well before this age, the better it is for the later years of life. A child who cannot write properly at thirteen or fourteen (I can speak out of my own experience because I could not do it at that age) is not so hindered for later spiritual development as one who early, at seven or eight years can already read and write perfectly’'.

How can you take Steiner advocates and practitioners like Dr. House seriously when this stuff http://www.anthroposophy.org.uk/ informs their thinking?

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Re: UKLA fights back against SP with 'Teaching Reading' booklet

Post by Derrie Clark » Sat Nov 27, 2010 3:27 pm

That is said only because it is not known today how harmful it is when the children learn to read and write too soon. It is a very bad thing to be able to write early. Reading and writing as we have them today are really not suited to the human being till a later age - the eleventh or twelfth year - and the more a child is blessed with not being able to read and write well before this age, the better it is for the later years of life. A child who cannot write properly at thirteen or fourteen (I can speak out of my own experience because I could not do it at that age) is not so hindered for later spiritual development as one who early, at seven or eight years can already read and write perfectly’'.
Wow! That's an interesting statement (in bold). So learning to read and write early hinders spiritual development? Perhaps those young people who still can't read and write at 13/14 experience so much pain from embarrassment and low self esteem that their journey to sprituality is enhanced.

I wonder what sort of school he went to?

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Re: UKLA fights back against SP with 'Teaching Reading' booklet

Post by palisadesk » Sat Nov 27, 2010 3:44 pm

Derrie Clark wrote: I wonder what sort of school he went to?

Early 19th-century Austrian schools.

Susan S.

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Re: UKLA fights back against SP with 'Teaching Reading' booklet

Post by Derrie Clark » Sat Nov 27, 2010 5:48 pm

Would he not have been ridiculed by both teachers and peers do you think?

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Re: UKLA fights back against SP with 'Teaching Reading' booklet

Post by kenm » Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:46 pm

Perhaps "not so hindered for later spiritual development" = "not rendered resistant to indoctrination by being able to learn independently".
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

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Re: UKLA fights back against SP with 'Teaching Reading' booklet

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:26 pm

http://thinkpolitics.co.uk/tpblogs/teac ... c-phonics/

Susan posted this link earlier in the thread. I've added a few comments.

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Re: UKLA fights back against SP with 'Teaching Reading' booklet

Post by Kiki » Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:59 pm

Has anyone invited Mr Rosen to visit a school using systematic synthetic phonics to see what he thinks then?

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Re: UKLA fights back against SP with 'Teaching Reading' booklet

Post by Susan Godsland » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:31 pm

Sorry I can't answer your question, Kiki, perhaps someone else can...

Here's some twaddle that Michael Rosen recently put out about synthetic phonics:

http://www.michaelrosen.co.uk/guardian011010.html

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Re: UKLA fights back against SP with 'Teaching Reading' booklet

Post by chew8 » Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:00 pm

Re. the Clackmannanshire study, Rosen wrote:The comprehension scores went down. What?! So the children were reading marginally better than the norm, (for reasons we don't know) but they were less able to understand what they were reading!
No, the comprehension scores did not go down, and the children's word-reading was not just 'marginally better than the norm' - it was three and a half years better. Their spelling was also above the norm, by 20 months. And they were not 'less able to understand what they were reading' - they were also above national norms in comprehension, though not as far above as in word-reading and spelling, probably because many of them were from fairly disadvantaged backgrounds.

Jenny C.

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Re: UKLA fights back against SP with 'Teaching Reading' booklet

Post by maizie » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:30 pm

chew8 wrote: And they were not 'less able to understand what they were reading' - they were also above national norms in comprehension,
Jenny, when you say this, do you have a 'national norm' which you are comparing them with, or are you saying that scoring at chronological age on a standardised test would be the national norm?

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