Re 'barking at print'.
I can 'read' aloud a passage of French text, with a reasonable approximation of the correct pronunciation, because I know, from my dim & distant 'O'Level studies, how the French Alphabetic Code works. I don't understand/know the meaning of
more than about one word in 6, and I struggle with syntax & grammar. This is because I don't have a working knowledge of the 'meaning' of French words.
Surely your children are in the same boat? They will only attach meaning to words that are already in their (limited) oral English vocabulary. Developing their expressive language skills shouldn't be confused with teaching them to decode.
Would they get 'meaning' from the words any better if they were taught them as sight words?
I would give the 'barking at print' brigade a passage of French (or a language that they don't speak), or, better still, a language written in cyrillic script, and ask them precisely how they would go about extracting 'meaning' from it without either being able to read the words (in the case of cyrillic) or knowing what they mean (in the case of the unknown language).
The other thing is to tell them very firmly that you cannot extract 'meaning' from the squiggles on the page until you know precisely what word the squiggles represent. The chances are that the children couldn't even 'predict' meaning from context because they wouldn't 't know what the context words meant either!
This is such unbelieveably sloppy and illogical thinking. They are only trotting out phrases parrot fashion without thinking about what they really mean. When you come across the identical 'barking at print' phrase in a Dfes booklet, as I did in the Dfes Guidance on Miscue Analysis;
Of the two readers, the first was more proficient. This is not because of the number of miscues but the kind of miscues. By examining the miscues of the first reader we know that s/he searches for meaning. S/he is not just ‘barking’ at print, i.e. either reading word for word, decoding as s/he goes,(this is really interesting - it implies that barking at print is seen purely as decoding, and worse, reading every word (!), seemingly not to be encouraged, rather than decoding without comprehension, which is an entirely different situation. m.)
you realise that you're up against some very powerful indoctrination!
In other words, they're BARKING :D