As Charles Perfetti wrote in his article ‘The Universal Grammar of Reading’ (Scientific Studies of Reading, 7:1, 3-34) in 2009, ‘examples of the variability of English spelling-pronunciation mappings are stock-in-trade for some opponents of phonics teaching, as well as the traditional call to arms for spelling reformers. The parallel is quite superficial, however, because although… Continue reading Why the Chair of the English Spelling Society doesn’t understand the English orthographic code
Yesterday, the Guardian, to its shame, in my opinion, chose once again to give space to Andrew Davis for yet another opportunity to launch a diatribe against the teaching of synthetic phonics. Why do I say ‘to its shame’? Because, at bottom, Davis, an academic philosopher, doesn’t know what he’s talking about and anyone with the… Continue reading Andrew Davis’s philosophical phonics fantasy
The Guardian: Reading with kids Today’s Guardian is selling itself on its twenty-four page pull-out ‘Reading with kids’. If you’re looking for good books to buy your young relatives, it offers plenty of advice: ‘The book doctor’ pages for 0-4s and 5-7s contain lots of occasions for what Francis Spufford in his The Child that… Continue reading Reading with kids
This one’s not about literacy but it’s certainly worth a comment. Yesterday’s Guardian newspaper has picked up on a report entitled ‘We’re trying to restore our kids’ freedom’ from the Sunday Times (04/07/2010) about a school in Dulwich, south London, which is threatening to report a couple to children’s services because they allow their two… Continue reading School stops child cyclists
What I remember Umberto Eco for best – and, my goodness, I enjoyed The Name of the Rose – is a long-forgotten piece he wrote on the Bond novels. On reading said piece, I was amazed to see that, apart from The Spy Who Loved Me, all the others conformed to a strict structural pattern. I’d… Continue reading Umberto echoes my fondness for the fountain pen.
Polly Curtis reported in Friday’s Guardian that 10,000 people have signed a petition to scrap SATs.Independent and objective testing is an appropriate way of seeking to find out if pupils are successfully remembering and understanding what society wants them to be taught. Unfortunately there is little evidence that the Government’s SATs papers actually do this… Continue reading The end of SATs?