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The BBC News reported that fewer than six out of ten pupils in England passed the phonics screening tests conducted in June this year.  The tests also showed that girls performed better than boys at using phonics to decode words.

Click on the link below to view the report by Hannah Richardson

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19742212

Phonics is not the only method of teaching children to read and should not be used in isolation.  It is however an excellent way to begin to learn to read and helps children to grasp the basics of decoding words.  The tests administered in June aimed to identify children who needed additional help with this aspect of reading skill development.

There is only a problem in my view when this method is unsupported by the use of context and the use of visual clues to aid comprehension of text.  Sophisticated readers use all methods available to them.

The skills required to process sounds such as those when using phonics can easily be promoted through specially devised musical activities such as those in the ‘Sounds and Symbols’ programme.  By honing these skills early children are then adequately prepared for phonics tests.

Jaime Bryant

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