Yes, there is! By teaching children the code, how to understand how the code works, and the skills necessary to use it.First, the shortcomings of SP when it comes to the complexities of the English language. Of course these have always existed. It is this complexity which makes English more difficult to read and spell than some other languages. I don't think there is any way round this difficulty, and I don't think SP can provide a way round.
Let's take the example of <ea>. The child reads the sentence; 'Last night I ate a tasty steak.' First, they read the word 'steak' as /s/ /t/ /ee/ /k/. What is their brain doing? Obviously checking on all of the words to determine whether they make sense. 'Steek' makes no sense, so they try /e/. That doesn't work either. Finally, they try /ae/. Now, 'Last night I ate a tasty /s/ /t/ /ae/ /k/ does make sense. But, I hear you say, how will they know that <ea> can be /ee/, /e/ or /ae/? Simple! Because that's what we teach them when we teach phonics. And, of course, they check against their lexical repertoire. What rot to say that checking against known vocabulary is not part and parcel of teaching phonics. Written language is a representation of spoken language and the code isn't operating in a vacuum. And, if the word is not within one's compass, yes of course one resorts to the dictionary or someone who is likely to know. It happens all the time and, to me as to most of the people reading the posts on this website, this is bleeding obvious.Where a grapheme represents more than one phoneme there is no way for the reader to know, for sure, which phoneme is being represented in a word s/he is reading. If the reader knows the alternatives he can get close but cannot be certain. Another skill needs to be brought to bear alongside his phonic knowledge. This could be the use of context, checking against known vocabulary or asking someone else. None of these strategies are part of SP or are contained in SP principles, although a teacher might encourage the learner to use them.
There is a way for a writer to know how to spell sounds in words. It's to do with being taught them - in the context of words. The would-be writer also needs to be trained in noticing which particular spelling we use when spelling a word and they needs lots of exposure. Then, as we all know, there are patterns in the language which, so Diane McGuinness argues, the brain recognises. And, horror of horrors that a child might spell a word incorrectly! What happens then? Well, as this Year 4 teacher said to me the other day at Hunsbury Park Primary School, 'You know what, John, even if they don't use the accepted/correct spelling, they can always use a spelling that is phonically plausible and that gives them fantastic confidence. Confidence to be able to write anything.'Where a phoneme can be represented by more than one grapheme there is no way for the writer to know, for sure, which grapheme represents the phoneme s/he wants to write. If the writer knows the alternatives she can get close but cannot be certain. Another skill needs to be brought to bear alongside her phonic knowledge. This could be checking against her bank of known and recognised similar words, checking in a dictionary, applying a rule she has been taught, or asking someone else. None of these strategies are part of SP or are contained in SP principles, although a teacher might encourage a learner to use them.
And you can say that phonics
until you're black (pots) in the face, but I know it does and, what's more, I can hardly find a word in anything that Diane McGuinness that doesn't ring true and can't be tested successfully against reality - i.e by teaching.simply does not solve the problems posed by the complexity of the 'code'