To consider the teaching of reading

Aim

To consider the teaching of reading.

Evidence and reflection

Fierce debate continues on the appropriate start to the teaching of reading. In England it has been placed as a ‘specific’ area of learning within the ‘literacy’ area of learning in the EYFS. This is in recognition of the need for an earlier focus on children’s Communication and Language. The placing does, however, sit alongside a phonics test introduced for children in Year 1 in 2012, and the Teachers’ Standards requirements for a particular approach, where ‘if teaching early reading, [teachers must] demonstrate a clear understanding of systematic synthetic phonics’ (education.gov.uk).

Critics of the synthetic phonics approach, including previous Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, firmly contest the validity of the focus on this sole approach to reading (See: michaelrosenblog.blogspot.co.uk).

Reflect on the emotive language used by both advocates and opponents of synthetic phonics. Why and how has this debate become politically charged?