Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Moderators: Debbie Hepplewhite, maizie, Lesley Drake, Susan Godsland

geraldinecarter
Posts: 990
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:40 pm

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by geraldinecarter » Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:16 pm

Good piece by John Bald starting with the 5 min debate between Dr.Davis and Debbie.
Phonics is not, as Dr Davis argues, something to be used "on occasion," but the basis of reading in an alphabetic language. Once this is accepted, we can build the rest. Until it is, we will remain in the morass.
http://johnbald.typepad.com/language/20 ... ics-1.html

geraldinecarter
Posts: 990
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:40 pm

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by geraldinecarter » Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:37 pm

http://educationmediacentre.org/newsrea ... ts-differ/
or use the link http://bit.ly/1ftq4K9

Interesting response to Dr Davis' paper from one of his colleagues at Durham. See also the response from Prof Morag Styles, Cambridge and Prof Kathy Sylva, Oxford.

Horrifying to think that Prof Morag Styles will influence the new 'research' primary school in Cambridge..

chew8
Posts: 4152
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:26 pm

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by chew8 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:12 pm

Very good blog from John Walker.

Re. the following, though:
John wrote:However, for children who can already read reasonably well or even very well, phonics provides a clear understanding of how the writing system relates to the sounds of the language. In such cases, tailoring the quality and the quantity of the phonics tuition requires well educated teachers who have a very high level of knowledge of the conceptual understanding, factual knowledge and the skills needed to teach their pupils become highly proficient readers and spellers.
I would just want to say yet again that I think there are a few (very few) children who arrive at school already knowing enough phonics not to need anything more than occasional light-touch reminders, if that. This was true of all my children and has been true of the grandchildren who have so far reached school age. I think it will be true of the grandchild who is due to start school next September, but I'll reserve judgement for now. I'm not talking about children who can already read well through whole-word or whole-language methods, but about children who read (and spell) well through being taught phonics as pre-schoolers. I don't think we are on strong ground if we say that when they start school they need to be taught what they already know.

Jenny C.

chew8
Posts: 4152
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:26 pm

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by chew8 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:29 pm

maizie wrote:I read a couple of Port's interesting papers quite a while ago and noted his comments on phonemes for reading. I did point it out to Davis on TES, Jenny, though without quoting big chunks. He ignored it.

Yes, I knew you had read papers by Port, Maizie – I think you’ve mentioned this on the RRF message-board, and it’s probably thanks to you that I started reading his stuff, which I think distinguishes very helpfully between what linguists need to know about sounds in words and what people (including linguists) learn about sounds in words through becoming alphabetically literate. What we learn about these sounds through alphabetic literacy is rough and ready compared with what academic linguists are concerned with, but it’s right for the job ('spectacularly successful', if I understand Port correctly).

What I was trying to do in my previous posting was just to address something quite specific in Davis’s paper – he says that the term ‘phoneme’ is ‘now apparently beginning to fall out of favour with academic researchers in linguistics’ and implies that this is another nail in the coffin of synthetic phonics. Port continues to use the term ‘phoneme’, so I’m not sure that he would agree that it is falling out of favour with academic linguists, but he certainly regards the concept as one which needs to be re-thought by linguists. What I have read of his, however, makes me think that he would not regard this in itself as a reason for distrusting the line taken by s.p. This does not mean that I’m assuming that Port would support the s.p. position as it now is in England (that’s a separate issue) – just that I don’t think he would see the fact that linguists are having new thoughts about phonemes as necessarily implying that teachers of beginning reading are wrong to go on using the concept of sounds which linguists themselves acquired when they became alphabetically literate as young children. Whether or not we should go on calling them ‘phonemes’ if linguists are changing their views is again a separate issue.

Port says that ‘letters conveniently provide a specification that is detailed enough for practical indication of how a speaker should pronounce a word’. Pinker said something very similar in his 1994 book (see my previous posting), and I quoted it in an article published in Journal of Research in Reading in 1997, feeling that it provided some justification for the way that what I then called ‘traditional phonics’ but would now call ‘synthetic phonics’ teaches children to use letters as prompts for sounds and then blend the sounds in order to arrive at pronunciations for written words. Pinker was also my source for the following:
I wrote:...the sounds in spoken words are fleeting: phonemes are uttered at the rate of at least ten to fifteen per second in normal speech; their pronunciation varies according to the surrounding sounds; and they blend into one another without gaps (see Pinker, 1994, Chapter 6) (JRR, 20/3, 1997)
.
Port says similar things in his 2006 article ‘The graphical basis of phones and phonemes'. Another thing I said in that JRR article was that 'traditional' (now 'synthetic') phonics does not require children to have any prior ‘phonemic awareness’ and this, too, seems to fit in with things that Port says. See also my preamble to the Research Digest in RRF Newsletter 52 (2004) - http://www.rrf.org.uk/archive.php?n_ID= ... eNumber=52

Jenny C.

Lesley Drake
Posts: 704
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2003 12:01 am
Location: London

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Lesley Drake » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:05 pm

Good quote from John

"We should always be prepared to challenge the siren song of the opposers of phonics. What's at stake is the future of our children's literacy."

What I find particularly obnoxious is the "Reading for Pleasure" campaign, insinuating as it does that children given an early and thorough grounding in how the code works will never want to pick up a book, or have been denied access to rich and stimulating texts while being taught to decode.

This is a) insulting to children and b) insulting to their teachers.

I've always been of the belief that Rosen is actually anti-teacher whilst supposedly supporting their professionalism and right to choose.

Thanks John, for putting your point across really well.

john walker
Posts: 369
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2003 10:46 am
Location: Buckingham
Contact:

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by john walker » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:18 pm

Thanks to you Jenny and Lesley for your kind words.
The last bit wasn't added as an afterthought. I am really concerned that all the hard work everyone does can be so easily undone by the likes of Rosen, Davis and company. This is a hard fight we're in and we know it. But at least we're not in the place Joyce Morris and all her contemporaries were in all those years ago. Funnily enough this year marks the fortieth anniversary of the publication of her lovely little resources book Language in Action. :smile:
John Walker
Sounds-Write
www.sounds-write.co.uk
http://literacyblog.blogspot.com

User avatar
Debbie Hepplewhite
Administrator
Posts: 3648
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 4:13 pm
Location: Berkshire
Contact:

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:19 am

Funnily enough this year marks the fortieth anniversary of the publication of her lovely little resources book Language in Action.
Which illustrates how shocking it is that so many phonics detractors still prevail -and dominate in the media - based on prejudice and/or ignorance about phonics and its relationship with wider language and literature.

Speaking of Rosen, he has written a blog-posting in support of Davis clearly showing his ignorance about modern phonics programmes and practice - and he has blotted out, ignored, or is ignorant about the notion behind the Simple View of Reading and the wider provision of teachers in their settings.

User avatar
Debbie Hepplewhite
Administrator
Posts: 3648
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 4:13 pm
Location: Berkshire
Contact:

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:15 pm

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/deb ... -1-6405996

The Yorkshire Post - more rallying under the Davis paper umbrella.

This is particularly galling as it is featuring 'Biff, Chip and Kipper' - which is associated with the Floppy's Phonics Sounds and Letters programme!

I can reassure anyone that my 'two-pronged systematic and incidental phonics teaching' approach is extremely comprehensive and the level of knowledge and information afforded to teachers and learners via the Oxford Reading Tree Floppy's Phonics Sounds and Letters programme (of which I am the phonics consultant and official training provider) is excellent.

We don't even know from the piece above whether the school concerned used Floppy's Phonics Sounds and Letters at all - or whether, for example, they used another programme, or no programme, to provide any phonics teaching.

One problem, however (and this is grave), is that when I visit or re-visit schools, I have yet to find teachers following my guidance properly - in fact, they often disregard the guidance/training with the notion that they have "adapted the programme to suit their children".

So here we have Davis and others fighting the corner for 'teachers' professional judgement' which would uphold the right for all this 'adaptation' but which is in danger of fundamentally undermining the very careful design of not only use of the resources but also the underpinning training and/or guidance.

If teachers followed good programmes properly, children wouldn't still be using any form of scheme books beyond Year One!

I would aim for children being truly independent readers at a very early age which for the vast, vast majority is possible - actually - probable.

Sadly, these individual 'anecdotes' which are becoming increasingly prevalent do not begin to touch the details of the issues - and they are being published in the public domain with no opportunity to respond via the article itself.

john walker
Posts: 369
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2003 10:46 am
Location: Buckingham
Contact:

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by john walker » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:09 pm

Hi Debbie,
I've just replied, a bit testily I admit, but then such a stupid shoot-from-the-hip piece deserves a bit of a broadside.
I also resisted the temptation to draw attention to the misspelling of 'humorous' in the article :roll: I'm sure it was a typo.
We'll see if they print it. The Herald in Scotland didn't print my comment responding to Jim Conroy!
John Walker
Sounds-Write
www.sounds-write.co.uk
http://literacyblog.blogspot.com

geraldinecarter
Posts: 990
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:40 pm

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by geraldinecarter » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:36 pm

Interesting stuff - thanks,all.

John who is the 'Ruth' who comments on your blog? Mind you, she must be intelligent as she can decipher the squiggles which allow comment! The couple of times I've tried to leave a comment have ended in failure - tho the 'code' seems clearer this time.

john walker
Posts: 369
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2003 10:46 am
Location: Buckingham
Contact:

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by john walker » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:05 pm

[quote]John who is the 'Ruth' who comments on your blog?/quote
Can't you guess, G? You'd better ask Maizie. She's good at spotting the aliases of a certain individual ;-)
John Walker
Sounds-Write
www.sounds-write.co.uk
http://literacyblog.blogspot.com

User avatar
Debbie Hepplewhite
Administrator
Posts: 3648
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 4:13 pm
Location: Berkshire
Contact:

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:26 pm

Your comment is available to be read, John, well done.

We know the massive amount of time it takes to learn about reading instruction, to research the research, to lobby to get phonics on the political agenda in order to get it into the schools, to write the programmes and make the resources, to train folk and support them - all to be dismissed out of hand by people complaining about their children doing phonics in school and describing it in terms such as 'abuse'.

Sad and ironic isn't it! :neutral:

chew8
Posts: 4152
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:26 pm

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by chew8 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:52 am

A point of Davis’s that the media have picked up on is the one about children arriving at school already reading well. I’ve said before, and will say again, that I have some sympathy with what is being said about this. There are a few children who start school with good alphabetic code knowledge and I would want this to be recognised by their teachers. I’m thinking mainly in terms of children who have been taught phonics by parents, or who have deduced a great deal by being taught in other ways. My own children and grandchildren have been in the former category, but there are also a few in the second category whose progress I have kept tabs on for long enough to know that their reading and spelling have continued to be excellent long past the point where they might have hit a wall if they were using the wrong strategies. I would not want such children to have to go through a full phonics programme, however much time and trouble someone had taken to develop this programme.

Jenny C.

Sue Blackburn
Posts: 96
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 12:57 pm
Location: Reigate, Surrey
Contact:

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Sue Blackburn » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:50 am

I agree with Jenny – I do think, when discussing this with Davis supporters, there should be recognition that some children will not need to start phonics instruction from the very beginning when starting in Reception.

Obviously the aim is to make sure they have covered all the alphabetic code so they have a firm basis for reading and spelling. A good teacher should be able to assess their knowledge fairly early on and be able to provide phonics work at a suitable level to make sure they continue to build on the knowledge they already have.

I think that sounds a more reasonable position than just dismissing what Andrew Davis is saying as nonsense.

Lesley Drake
Posts: 704
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2003 12:01 am
Location: London

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Lesley Drake » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:35 am

Has anyone on here ever advocated forcing children who arrive in Reception reading fluently with good code knowledge to undergo a full phonics programme from the beginning again?

Common sense says that no teacher would do this in the first place. Exactly the same as if a child came in with a good knowledge of number bonds and could count to 100. No teacher would then force them to "learn their numbers from 1 to 10" again.

Davis is the classic phonics denialist, bringing up something that is really not an issue in order to muddy the waters. As they do when they say children aren't allowed to read real stories or have books with pictures in, under the monstrous regimen of synthetic phonics.

Call it red herrings, Aunt Sallies or whatever, it is the tactic of these people to create some big problem where there is none.

Can anyone on here actually find any instance of where we have advocated putting such children through the whole programme if they already know it?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests