a simple phonetic system

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 5 17:43:39 UTC 2007

Perhaps phonetics can fit its way into child education.

If phonetics is simplified, it can be taught to kids as a preliminary
reading instruction for phonemic awareness, and then continue in
dictionairies as the pronunciation guide and then in translation guides.
This kind of integration is the quest of truespel.com

See what's happening in England



Children who struggle with reading can make dramatic progress in just a
fortnight when they are given traditional lessons, a report reveals today.

The study by a think-tank showed that primary school pupils increased their
reading ages by nearly two years in as many weeks when they were given
intensive "synthetic phonics" lessons.

The back-to-basics method involves teaching the letter sounds of English and
how to blend them together to work out unfamiliar words.

Civitas, which carried out the study, said phonics had the potential to end
the "apartheid" between the educational haves and have-nots.

It said thousands of children had been consigned to the educational
scrapheap by the failed reading schemes promoted in schools over the past

Synthetic phonics was not made compulsory in schools until last September,
despite evidence from Scotland that it can transform literacy standards.

For the research, Civitas held a summer "supplementary school" with the help
of charitable donations. Its pupils were 15 children between six and eight,
all from disadvantaged areas.
Many had already fallen behind in their reading.

The youngsters were given intensive lessons in synthetic phonics for a
fortnight using a course designed by literacy authority Irina Tyk.

After two weeks of whole-class tuition, as opposed to onetoone, the average
improvement in reading age was one year and nine months.

The report said: "The progress made by the pupils was so striking that the
project has decided to make the course textbook, Irina Tyk's The Butterfly
Book, available for the first time in a commercial format."

Synthetic phonics was eclipsed during the Sixties and Seventies by theories
which required pupils to memorise whole words. The Government did put some
synthetic phonics into its flagship literacy hour but critics claim that for
years it was mixed with less effective methods.

In a dramatic climbdown, ministers last year put a legal duty on schools to
use synthetic honics "fast and first" when teaching four and five-year-olds.
The Civitas report said the technique should also be used with older
children who are slow readers.

Anastasia de Waal, head of family and education at Civitas, said: "Teaching
children to read via synthetic phonics can bridge the gap between those from
disadvantaged and advantaged homes like no other method."

Her report goes on to say: "Weak reading lies at the heart of the
educational apartheid between the advantaged and the disadvantaged, and of
England's low social mobility.

"The inability to read properly is the single greatest handicap to progress
in school and adult life.
"Poor achievement, related poor behaviour in secondary schools and the vast
increase in the number of young people not in education, employment or
training connect directly to poor literacy teaching at primary school

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL5+
See truespel.com - and the 4  truespel books plus "Occasional Poems" at

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