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Downie: Phonicsphobia; brief history of reading instruction

 
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debbie



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 11:55 am    Post subject: Downie: Phonicsphobia; brief history of reading instruction Reply with quote

This message by Maggie Downie on the UK Reading Reform Foundation message forum - [be sure to check out the various links] - provides a good and interesting reflection of the history of reading instruction noting the influences of various people which has led or contributed to ideas such as 'reading readiness' to the detriment of many children over the decades:


http://rrf.org.uk/messageforum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5984

Maggie explains the purpose of her posting:

Quote:
Heather recently posted a blog about SSP which provoked a bit of a twitter storm and a series of exchanges over the quality of the evidence with another RRF message board contributor who posted her own blog in response.




She goes on to say...

Quote:
I felt that the 'history' of reading instruction' run through in the second blog was, to say the least, vague and inaccurate, and tried to write a response. This has turned out to be extremely long so I am posting it here instead. It is not a polished piece of work, nor does it address everything but I have tried to be show how instructional methods have taken hold over the past 10 years or so.

I realise that I could have gone further, looking at reports such as Bullock and Warnock but this isn't an undergraduate essay.

I might also say that reading Huey is a real eyeopener. Diack comments that much of what had been written about reading prior to his own book (1965) could be found in Huey, though as the 20th C progressed it was increasingly unattributed. The same could be said now in that much of what Huey said is still being said today.

The power of Ruling Theory at work!


Please do read the rest of Maggie's posting if you have any interest in the history of reading instruction... Wink
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Debbie Hepplewhite


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debbie



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm trying to find a free link to Dr Joyce Morris' 'Phonicsphobia' paper and in the meantime found this fascinating, heartfelt piece by Joyce Morris via Susan Godsland's excellent www.dyslexics.org.uk site which is a heavily-referenced site.

Joyce's brief overview of her life's work hints at the kind of resistance we see to this day - and the reason that her piece 'Phonicsphobia' is so significant is that it reflects the kind of idealogies and tensions that beset the teaching profession arguably to its detriment:


http://www.historyliteracy.org/scripts/search_display.php?Article_ID=230

Quote:
JOYCE MORRIS SHARES HER LIFE FOR LITERACY

Part 2. Serving a Good Cause

By Joyce M. Morris

Editors' Note: Dr. Joyce M. Morris has played a significant role in reading research and instruction over five decades and remains an important figure in the history of literacy. She is a founder of the United Kingdom Reading Association (1963) and author of UKRA in Historical Perspective (1984). Her most recent conference contribution, published by the Queen's English Society, is entitled What Research Tells the English Teacher and Mr. Blair (2001). The following article is continued from the Spring 2002 History of Reading News. To access the first part of this article please go to our website at http://www.historyliteracy.org.

A Researcher’s Chance in a Lifetime (1953)

My life for literacy has been so shaped by extraordinary incidents and extraordinary people that it might be described as the consequence of either ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’ and not simply as ‘chance’ or ‘coincidence.’ ...


I find it so ironic that Joyce is a founder of the United Kingdom Reading Association which became the United Kingdom Literacy Association because within the UKLA there are some staunch critics of governmental promotion of Systematic Synthetic Phonics and the statutory Year One Phonics Screening Check. Members of the UKLA nowadays do not really present as being into phonics despite some begrudging references of the need for phonics.
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debbie



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In light of mentioning the United Kingdom Literacy Association above, I thought I would take a quick look at the UKLA website to see whether there is any reflection of, or an interest in, phonics or promotion of phonics nowadays considering that one of it's key founders, Dr Joyce Morris, drew attention to the importance of phonics - that is the link between the 44 phonemes (smallest identifiable sounds which usually change the meaning of words such as /b/ /oa/ /t/ and /k/ /oa/ /t/) and the letters or letter groups which are code for those sounds.

Well - readers can take a look for themselves at the modern UKLA site - but I can say that there is virtually no reflection of 'phonics' at all.

I did find a case study of a special needs 4 year old, however, which refers to the Simple View of Reading and the guidance within 'Letters and Sounds' (DfES 2007) - but, sadly, the adaptation of systematic phonics teaching by the person conducting the case study to 'personalise' phonics or to 'make the learning meaningful' meant that the little girl concerned got nothing like the kind of teaching methods of Systematic Synthetic Phonics as it looks in all the leading SSP programmes.

It is the obsession by so many in the field of literacy, or the phonics detractors, for the need to make all learning 'meaningful' and 'personal' which ends up with a gross distortion and dilution of the truly effective SSP approach.

See the case study (very short - easy reading) shown via the right-hand corner of this UKLA webpage:

http://www.ukla.org/resources/
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debbie



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In fact, David Reedy of the UKLA has headed up a number of challenges to the Year One Phonics Screening Check - for example, in the magazine 'Teach Primary' and via the online TES 'opinion' section where a number of weighty professionals signed an open letter to Michael Gove (then, Secretary of State for Education) to withdraw the Year One Phonics Screening Check.

I have started a number of threads on this 'topical' message forum describing the attempts of various phonics detractors in the UK currently working hard to undermine phonics one way or another. I don't know what Joyce Morris would think of this considering that she worked for the research organisation NFER for a number of years and understands the importance of testing and gaining an overview of trends in reading levels over time.

Anyway, it is enormously time-consuming but I think very important that people such as myself keep responding to the phonics detractors where we can - and certainly in the media through the channels of which it is very difficult to get good and accurate information disseminated.

Here I address point for point Reedy's issues with the Year One Phonics Screening Check:


http://www.phonicsinternational.com/reedy_response.pdf
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debbie



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank goodness, the amazing sleuth, Susan Godsland, has kindly found a link that works for Dr Joyce Morris's famous 'Phonicsphobia' paper:


http://www.englishspellingsociety.org/journals/j17/fonicsfobia.php
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