Children’s authors in phonics row

The Telegraph, 17th June 2012

Authors including Michael Rosen, Michael Morpurgo and Philip Pullman have criticised the exclusive use of the phonics method of teaching, in which words are broken down into individual sounds, claiming it risks undermining children’s love of books.

However, they came under fire last night from Sir Jim Rose, author of a landmark review of literacy teaching which led to the renewed focus on phonics, first under Labour and then by the Coalition.

Sir Jim accused critics of trying to “destroy” phonics programmes, causing damage to children’s education.

Opponents support a mix of techniques to teach reading, including the “whole word approach” in which children are taught to recognise entire words.

The row comes as 600,000 six-year-olds this week sit the Government’s controversial new phonics screening check for the first time.

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