In the article flagged up by Susan, we read this:
While recognising the concerns about losing such a powerful and, for many, desirable label, the book concludes by arguing for an end to its use and calls for a correspondingly greater focus upon identifying and addressing each individual’s particular difficulties in ways that tie into what we know to be the best forms of practice.
Graham Stringer MP is mentioned as being someone who criticises the teaching itself for reading difficulties and the article's authors imply that there is now no such problem with teaching: "what we know to be the best forms of practice".
Understandings of dyslexia
Since clinical cases were first reported by physicians at the end of the 19th century, it has been clear that some children experience substantial difficulty in learning to read. In the view of some commentators, for example, the MP Graham Stringer, the root cause is poor educational practice. On his website in 2009, he described dyslexia as ‘a cruel fiction’ and added:
...to label children as dyslexic because they’re confused by poor teaching methods is wicked... The sooner it
is consigned to the same dustbin of history, the better.
The reality is that complex reading problems clearly have biological bases and cannot be ascribed merely to inefficient classroom practice. Of course, environmental factors can be influential in maximising or limiting a child’s progress (for example, after the cessation of the ‘Reading Wars’, we now recognise the importance of structured phonics techniques for those with potential reading difficulties, rather than the primary use of whole-language approaches).
I don't think anyone can make any assumptions about the 'best forms of practice' as delivered by either mainstream teachers, or intervention teachers/teaching assistants - or according to the content of various interventions (compare Reading Recovery teaching principles, for example, with Systematic Synthetic Phonics teaching principles - and read Elizabeth's findings of 'dyslexia training' and its difference with the general approach of SSP teaching and training).
I endeavoured to point out in my May article in SEN magazine that there is still no general consensus or common professional understanding about reading instruction and the dangers of the multi-cueing reading strategies for at least some children - particularly, I would argue, for the weakest or slowest-to-learn children - and the children with dyslexic tendencies (by that I mean, a tendency for muddlement therefore teaching needs to be particularly crystal clear and evidence-based):
SEN article flagging up the different approaches and 'understanding' amongst the teaching profession:
https://www.senmagazine.co.uk/articles/ ... or-phonics
I also think it is far too simplistic to look at the end of Year 2 statutory teacher assessments for literacy for many reasons. First and foremost because these are based on higher-order language ability in the main and therefore they are not comprehensive literacy assessments.
Secondly because children who are articulate can still gain the gist of reading books even where they may still be weak decoders or weak with alphabetic code knowledge, and children who are articulate can still write a good-enough piece of writing to gain a higher level than their level of code knowledge and spelling in comparison.
Thirdly, because the Year Two teacher assessments ARE teacher assessments - and therefore subjective - and in Year Two, there is no assessment of phonics knowledge and skills relative to higher-order skills and thus there is no continuity in the assessment measures. Over and again I have seen at least some examples of dubious accuracy with this teacher assessment process.
In other words, I suggest that Year Two teacher assessments do not give us a full-enough picture of how children are doing in the fullest sense - they do not look closely enough and transparently enough at the learners' full reading and writing profiles.
It's the same for the end of Key Stage Two tests I suggest - any formal assessment should not neglect alphabetic code knowledge and skills. Too many children may slip through the net - and this is particularly the case for articulate children with weaker basic skills - those children who might typically be described as 'dyslexic' as things stand currently.