New articles on morphology

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chew8
Posts: 4140
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:26 pm

New articles on morphology

Post by chew8 » Thu May 10, 2018 3:34 pm

Here are two new articles on morphology:

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10 ... 1818759477

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10 ... 1818775053

I wrote to Jeff Bowers (Bristol) just over a year ago after reading another Bowers and Bowers article. I said that although I was very much in favour of teaching morphology, I firmly believed that beginners needed a phonics grounding first. He didn't reply.

Fortunately, Kathy Rastle argues the case very cogently in the second of the two articles above.

Jenny C.

chew8
Posts: 4140
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:26 pm

Re: New articles on morphology

Post by chew8 » Mon May 14, 2018 11:30 am

It seems to me that Bowers and Bowers don’t reckon with the fact that real beginners know few if any letters, and recognise few if any words in their written form. Children really do need to start at the very beginning, and the examples that B. and B. give (‘do’- ’does’, ‘act’- ’action’- ’react’, ‘sign’ – ‘signal’ – ‘resign’ etc.) are not the very beginning.
In a 2017 article they wrote: Finally, a skeptic might note that the empirical evidence in direct support of SWI is limited, with only three published SWI intervention studies in total and only one carried out with young children (ages 5–7; Devonshire et al., 2013). In fact, we agree that caution is warranted at present.
That article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00461520.2017.1288571

It should be noted that the Devonshire et al. study was carried out with children in Years 1 and 2, not with children in Reception, so caution is certainly needed before anyone recommends that teaching about morphology should feature right from the start. I do think it can start early, but with simple examples such as ‘cat’ – ‘cats’, ‘dog’ – ‘dogs’, ‘sit’ – ‘sits’, ‘run’ – ‘runs’ etc., where base words are made up entirely of very common beginner-type grapheme-phoneme correspondences and the suffix is consistently spelt ‘s’ but can sound as /s/ or /z/. ‘Do’ – ‘does’ etc. should certainly be taught in due course, but not until children have had some practice with base words made up of much more widely applicable GPCs.

I also think that Bowers and Bowers overlook some of what has already been said about morphology in official publications:
In their 2017 ‘Beyond Phonics...’ article, they wrote: ...the Independent Review of the Teaching of Early Reading (Rose, 2006) recommended that phonics should be the primary instructional approach but embedded within a broader language and literacy curriculum (p. 70). However, no consideration is given to the morphological or etymological constraints on spelling. And again, no mention of morphology was made in Rose (2009).
Jim Rose, however, oversaw the writing of Letters and Sounds (2007), Phase Six of which makes a number of morphological points, some of them very similar to points made in the 2017 Bowers and Bowers article. So attention to morphology has had some official backing for at least a decade.

Jenny C.

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