How phonics got framed

4 Replies

Instead of a written blog post today, here's a 15 minute YouTube video my wonderful sister Cath produced for me (thanks Cath!) about:

  • What the proper, scientific research tells us is the very best way to get children reading,
  • Why so few teachers and schools are currently properly equipped to teach chidren reading this way (not their fault, in my view),
  • What we might do to help change this for the better, to ensure that we get all children reading, and that illiteracy and poor literacy is prevented wherever possible.

Since I am a little short on video actors, I've pressed my clinic toys into service in the video, so its other title is "Toys explain the Literacy Research". I hope you like it, and that it is useful to those of you who are in a position to help get children reading.


4 thoughts on “How phonics got framed

    1. Michelle McG

      Such a great and important video.  I have felt all along that both of my kids would have benefited from phonics teaching as they both struggle with reading and writing being taught by the current method.  Will definitely be looking at resources on your website to help them with this.  Thanks for posting.  

  1. Struth

    Oh I feel like crying Alison! My son hit a wall halfway through Year 1 and was throwing his reading books across the room after plucking random words from the air to try and guess a word. He has an exceptionally good memory and I realised he had reached the end of his sight word list and his reading progression had just stopped. It took me at least a month of reading and research to teach myself how to teach phonics and talking with an elderly US phonics expert. He jumped 5 reading levels in a matter of weeks. The OUP books Project X CODE were also invaluable. However, I haven't been able to sustain that intense  teaching and I feel his phonics knowledge has stalled again and the teachers of chunky monkey are encroaching on my good work! I want to cry because you sum up everything I feel in your video and it is so eloquent. I also want to cry because I feel I am doing the job of the school and it is really tough to fit it all in. At least I am on the front foot with my younger son.  

    1. alison Post author

      Dear Ruth, so sorry to hear that your son got what a few people I know call misteaching, and then you had to work out what was wrong and how to get him going with his reading. Congratulations on having done so, I wish all kids with these type of difficulties had parents who could do this, but not as much as I wish schools would hurry up and teach early literacy in a way that allows every kid to learn. You aren’t the only parent who feels that what’s happening at school undermines what you’ve put so much effort into teaching, and I don’t know how that can be changed, but I guess we all just chip away at it and hope at some point there is both a groundswell among teachers and parents, plus some good leadership in the education sector, that makes the shift to fast-and-first-synthetic-phonics happen. Maybe that shift will be too late for your sons, but it sounds like they are in good hands.


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