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Phonics testing is underway this week.  The Schools Minister, Nick Gibb has backed the controversial reading test and insisted that phonics is the most effective way to teach children to read.  His belief is based upon the findings of the seven year Clackmannshire study by Johnston and Watson (2005). (insert link http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2005/02/20682/52383) Three hundred children were studied and it was found that after only three months’ phonics teaching at the beginning of primary education, pupils by age eleven years were three and a half years ahead of their reading age.

Mr Gibb stated in an interview for ITN News (link) on ITV’s ‘Daybreak’ that 95% of words are phonetically regular.

The link is:  http://www.itv.com/news/story/2012-06-18/teachers-warn-over-reading-test/

The importance of sound to reading is an area discussed in my book.  It is indisputable that phonological awareness, an appreciation of rhyme and rhythm and a good command of oral language contribute to literacy competence.  The relationship between sound and symbol is vital to literacy. These areas are of course, all addressed within the ‘Sounds and Symbols’ programme.

Jaime Bryant

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