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Sounds~Write has had an immediate effect on raising the standards in reading and spelling at our school […] I can highly recommend the training, which is thorough and engaging and totally equips the participants to deliver the Sounds~Write programme effectively.
- Monica Basham
serving Head Teacher at St Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Primary School
Bletchley, Milton Keynes
The following story appeared in the Kentish Express on 15th November 2007:
WORD PERFECT: Back to basics gets children reading
Teachers have the write stuff
A Shepway primary school is at the forefront of a change in the teaching of reading and writing. CHRIS DENHAM went there and learned to spell again.
Synthetic phonics may sound like something from a food horror story but it is actually about the building blocks of reading.
Lympne Primary School has been working with the technique for several years and has also been training teachers in it with educational psychologist Derrie Clark. Last week, Robert Frampton-Fell, deputy head of Wincheap Primary in Canterbury, became the 5,000th person to enjoy the training.
The phrase Synthetic Phonics has been bandied about with increasing frequency since a nationwide report on literacy was published two years ago - but what does it mean?
Parents from all generations will relate to the breaking up of words into sounds, and, at its most basic, synthetic, or linguistic, phonics provides a framework for carrying that on through learning to write as well as read. To spell SAT, you put together the phonemes (or small sounds) SS AAA TT, and take it from there. A word such as 'Anonymous' is rather more difficult, but the principle remains the same.
At Lympne primary school, head teacher Joyce Rhodes said: "Phonics is very structured and over the years there hasn't been a real structure provided. If you learn by look and say, what you are using is your memory, and the children get to a point when the memory is full. If they haven't got the strategy to break down the words then they flounder.
"It doesn't teach rules, because if you teach a rule for spelling it will inevitably be broken."
And she added: "There is a big push at the moment for improving children's writing, as it lags behind reading. Children often have the creativity, but the mechanics of writing slows the process. We want to make writing natural."
By getting the children to write as early as they read, they are already seeing the levels of writing proficiency joining that of reading among the younger pupils.
The school uses a scheme called Sounds-Write, which has been used in other schools across the country.
- Article reproduced courtesy of the Kentish Express