Interests Of Able Readers Threatened By Phonics, Research Suggests

An academic says the interests of able readers are being threatened by the use of phonics to teach reading in primary school. Durham University researcher Andrew Davis says children who have already started to read will be put off by sounding out words.

Able ReadersChildren could be put off

Dr. Davis, a former primary school teacher, says a small minority of children begin school able to read and understand sentences, while a larger group is able to recognize only some words.

He argues those children who are well on their way to reading could be left behind by reading books that feature only words, for which they have been taught in class.

The best way to teach reading

The Department for Education insists that phonics is the best way to teach reading. The teaching method requires children to blend common sounds into words. It encourages sounding out words rather than recognizing the whole word and reading it for meaning.

DfE urges English schools to use reading schemes based on synthetic phonics and invest on books approved as meeting its criteria.