Synthetic Phonic Approach

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The debatable assessment

Moreover, it is arguable whether Phonics Screening Check (PSC) is effective in measuring the outcomes of instructions and identifying the reading ability of children. In Rose Report (2007: 19), synthetic phonics is praised as ‘the best route to becoming skilled readers’. Driven by its emphasis on phonics, it points out five essential skills for reading: ‘recognition of letters, the ability to sound out phonemes, the ability to hear and blend phonemes, the reading of phonically regular words, and the reading of some irregular words’ (Rose, 2007: 22). Therefore, Phonics Screening Check was later introduced in 2012 by the UK coalition government to strengthen the teaching of synthetic phonics (Walker, 2015). Its aim is
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For example, whole-word method, also known as look and say method, uses pictures and stories in the instruction (Westcott, 2012). In this approach, children are supposed to learn complete words from an early age, which is actually opposite to the practice of synthetic phonics approach (Westcott, 2012). Clark (2007) criticized that synthetic phonics had been mixed with other ineffective methods before it was imposed as the dominate one. Some researches such as the experiment 2 by Johnston ans Waston praise discrete phonics teaching is supported in , but there are also many studies show the achievement of other methods like whole word teaching (Wyse and Styles, 2007b: 176). Wyse and Styles (2007a: 36) also compare different anglophone countries, and find England is the one overtly obsessed with synthetic phonics in teaching all early readers. On the contrary, Australian Government in its government report advises teachers to provide an integrated approach to teaching reading (Department of Education Science and Training, 2005:14, cited in Wyse and Styles, 2007a: …show more content…
As Hall (2006: 14) states, the process of learning phonological and phonemic knowledge is nonlinear and occurs unevenly. A ‘one size fits all’ approach can not meet the need of children with different social background and different level of previous experiences of texts (Rosen, 2013). The report published by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Education also highlights that the one-size-fits-all approach is undermining inspiration and triggering distress to some brightest children (Garner, 2011). The overemphasis of synthetic phonics is problematic because individual child have different learning requirements (Thomas, 2014). Ian McNeilly says that ‘No child learns in the same way’, and in practice teachers will use various strategies in combination (Westcott, 2012). The latest three-year review of the Phonics Screening Check and its impact by NFER shows that primary schools in England do spend more time on teaching of synthetic phonics after it becomes compulsory (Walker, 2015). However, other teaching strategies are seldom excluded and many schools tend to use a phonics approach to teaching of reading together with other methods (Walker,

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