B is for Book.

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kenm
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B is for Book.

Post by kenm » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:39 am

Yesterday evening I watched a BBC4 programme with the above title, which presented scenes from a year at Kingsmead Primary School, Hackney. These included beginning reading instruction by teachers, interviews with children and parents, together and separately (interviewer a disembodied voice), parents helping their offspring with homework, and stop motion animation of stories that teachers were reading to the children. I was puzzled by the programme and worried by the teaching that it showed. There was a marked contrast between the teaching of correspondences and the later use that was made of them. Children's supervised reading appeared to be entirely from illustrated books; teachers failed to correct egregious errors (e.g. /the/ for "happy"); teachers as well as parents frequently corrected misreads by saying the whole word rather than insisting on identifying phonemes and blending. I got the impression of a locally assembled mixture of SP and non-SP elements.

Did any of you see this programme? I would be grateful for an expert assessment of what was going on.
"... 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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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Re: B is for Book.

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:04 pm

Hi Ken,

I know of a number of people who watched the 'B is for Book' documentary with dismay.

There were numerous 'tweets' about it following the programme and I've started a thread via the International Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction here:

http://www.iferi.org/iferi_forum/viewto ... ?f=2&t=613

I shall also link to this thread that you have started via the RRF site.

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Re: B is for Book.

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:09 pm

PS: I have alerted Ofsted about this documentary.

It seems to me that it would be good for Ofsted training - because any Ofsted inspector charged with such a serious responsibility as inspecting schools should understand the difference between evidence-informed reading instruction and mixed methods or eclectic provision which does no favours at all to many children.

We do see phonics provision in this school but it is not good quality and it is not 'applied' properly to reading material and to spelling material. We also have to speculate about the kind of guidance that parents may, or may not, have received to support their children with reading and spelling.

This is not a criticism of the Read Write Inc programme at all - but of the mixing of the phonics with other flawed methods associated with Reading Recovery practices.

What is most upsetting is seeing children who are struggling being confronted with tasks of reading and spelling that they 'cannot do'.

The implication seems to be that this is about those individual children's difficulties with no sense whatsoever that their difficulties might be caused or exacerbated by the kind of teaching provided.

The school apparently has been judged by Ofsted to be 'outstanding'.

I have taken issue with Ofsted about schools being judged to be outstanding when at least some of their pupils are really not served well at all - they are not served by truly evidence-informed teaching practices which warn about multi-cueing reading strategies which are a large part of Reading Recovery practices.

Elizabeth
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Re: B is for Book.

Post by Elizabeth » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:35 pm

The English National Curriculum states:
Pupils should be taught to read aloud accurately books that are consistent with their developing phonic knowledge and that do not require them to use other strategies to work out words.
These children were clearly being asked to read books that were not "consistent with their developing phonic knowledge" and that did "require them to use other strategies to work out words". So, the school was not following the national curriculum properly.

It seemed to me that they were being taught by the class teachers to sound and blend to read words and they knew what to do. And then they were faced with the other teacher who asked them to read books they couldn't read and suggested to one of them to look at the picture. I wonder what this teacher was writing as she listened to the children. I suspect she was doing miscue analysis, which is based on the notion that it is helpful to use a range of cues and the teacher must identify which ones the child is using. Of course, that makes no sense with synthetic phonics teaching.

One of the books went, "The ... is on the table. The ... is on the table." That is the kind of book designed for memorising words without phonics, not the kind of book designed to encourage phonic decoding. The little boy said, "This is a boring book."
Elizabeth

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