My alarm bells was ringing after watching ‘Dispatches’ on Channel 4 last nite. The documentary is entitled “Why our children can’t read“.
The background reading leading to this documentary:
“According to Government statistics, a fifth of youngsters leaving primary school can’t read and write properly. That means they have not reached the benchmark reading age of an 11-year-old and are unlikely to be able to follow lessons when they go to secondary school.”
Dispatches investigate into the impact of poor reading skills acquired at primary schools’ level, which takes away the foundations that pupils require to access the National Curriculum when they enter secondary education. The consequence of this failure had lead to behavioural problems and truancy among pupils in the secondary schools and it emerged that lack of ability to read is the major underlying cause.
In the light of this national problem, the government have created a set of new guidelines, based on an “educational” review by Sir Graham Rose – the Rose Report. The new guideline is advocating the use synthetic phonics to teach pupils to reach.
A working definition of “Synthetic phonics”:
“Synthetic Phonics is a method of teaching reading which first teaches the letter sounds and then builds up to blending these sounds together to achieve full pronunciation of whole words. “
My concern is what impact does this new guideline will have on mainstreamed deaf children? I am struggling to see how this new teaching pedagogy – based entirely on the use of your auditory senses – that can cross the communications/language divide (via CSW/terp) and provide an effective learning route for reading, for deaf children.
Supporter of Synthetic phonics are almost evangelical about this method and insists it should be reinforced at all times. Does that means they will (deaf children) become even more excluded in mainstream setting, if their school decide to follow government guidelines with zeal?