The Phonics Debate in Primary Schools

3252 Words Jan 26th, 2008 14 Pages
The phonics debate in primary schools"At one time the question was: 'Shall we teach reading through phonics or through some other method?' Then it became: "Given that phonics has been proven to be the best method, which is the best phonics method?" Now research has shown incontrovertibly which is the best method, and this method is being successfully applied." How true is the picture presented above?My assignment is an attempt at answering the above question as I seek to examine the debates concerning the best method to teach reading. My main aim in particular, is to investigate the reading method known as 'phonics' and to compare its pros and cons as well as inspecting to see if the research which seems to have found the best phonics …show more content…
So, together with 'phonics' this model also included other three teaching methods: 'Knowledge of context', 'Grammatical Knowledge' and 'Word recognition and graphic knowledge'. However, many oppose the method of reading in the NLS. One such group is The Reading Reform Foundation (RRF) who promote synthetic phonics and consider the mixture of method endorsed by the NLS as Henry (2001) reports to be "ineffective and confusing". The RRF website editor Hepplewhite (2001) believes the NLS is fundamentally flawed and inadequate for the teaching of reading. Moreover, this model was hugely criticised in 2002 by an Ofsted report 'The National Literacy Strategy: the first four years 1998-2002', which claimed that it "gives insufficient emphasis in the early stages to the teaching of phonics". It also stated that the 'searchlights' model "has not been effective enough in terms of illustrating where the intensity of the "searchlights" should fall at the different stages of learning to read." Furthermore the report stated that the 'searchlights' model of reading placed too much emphasis elsewhere and not enough on phonics.

The House of Commons Education and Skills Committee published a report titled 'Teaching Children To read' in April 2005, eight years after the National Literacy Strategy was introduced in primary schools
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