Tuesday, November 21, 2023

How strong is the science behind the unstoppable rise of phonics?

Here's a new edition of the science podcast The Studies Show. It comes to the conclusion that the case for using phonics, and nothing but phonics, in teaching children to read is not as strong as its adherents like to claim:

Teaching kids how to read is amazingly controversial. Or at least, it was controversial until recently, when we achieved a proper scientific consensus that the best way to teach them is to use systematic phonics. This method has seen big successes here in the UK, and is helping thousands of children achieve proper literacy.

…that’s the story, anyway. But how strong is that scientific consensus? What evidence do we have that systematic phonics is the best way to learn to read? In this episode of The Studies Show, Tom and Stuart look into the work of a prominent “phonics sceptic”, and find his arguments pretty compelling.

It's worth a listen. And there are some valuable links to further reading on the podcast's website too.

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