RRF campaign

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MonaMMcNee
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RRF campaign

Post by MonaMMcNee » Sat May 03, 2008 6:36 am

Debbie tells me that the current concern of RRF is to get rid of Reading Recover , which has been clearly discredited but is still used.
We need to widen this pressure so that each little bit of teaching is understood.
Think of food - one day starch (bread, potatoes) is fattening; next thing it is the best ever. In health we are swamped by this "research" now. Instead of producing its own scheme, government should do this research on each little bit. Some schemes are a combination of phonics and sight words, phonics and guessing. Do pupils need to learn to listen on environmental sounds before listening to word-sounds? Do you need a large vocabulary first, or does it build up as you learn to read?
And so on.
Right now we need a clear dfinition of the word "systematic", because (evidently) it can mean one thing to Jack and the opposite to Jacqueline.
Does shared reading speed larning, or does it consume time that should be better spent in some way? Should working with a pupil need a stopwatch, how many seconds to read a word, or the opposite, no rush, give Johnny as much time as he needs? Every single component of lessons needs impartial, objective testing by someone who understands and has experience in both camps of any component (Martin Turner? John Bald?)

g.carter
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Post by g.carter » Sat May 03, 2008 9:04 am

Mona - Diane McGuinness has done a great deal of work on this - I don't know if it can be highlighted more prominently or distributed more widely.

There is still, alas, a massive back-lash against synthetic phonics but also an impressive amount of feed-back. It's a question of how most to be effective without spreading ourselves too thinly.

chew8
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Post by chew8 » Sat May 03, 2008 10:41 am

Geraldine - am I right in thinking that you mean that Diane has done a lot of work on Reading Recovery rather than the other points that Mona raises?

While I agree with Mona that research on 'each little bit' would be useful, I worry about the time this would have taken if the government had decided it was needed after the Rose report. Researchers would have needed to compare every variable in each approach with every variable in every other approach. Example 1: is it better to avoid all words containing rare or as-yet-untaught grapheme-phoneme correspondences at first ('tricky' words)? If so, what does 'at first mean - 3 weeks? 6 months? the first school year? Example 2: is one order of introducing grapheme-phoneme correspondences better than another? If so, which is the very best order of all? Who would decide exactly which variables would be investigated?

Time-wise, it seems to me that researchers would need to follow children up for at least two or three years before drawing firm conclusions - roughly until the time when the children could be expected to be reading normal text unaided. For example, there would need to be enough time for the children who had been shielded from 'tricky' words at first to learn to cope with these words, either through direct teaching or through self-teaching.

Would we have wanted to see the government delaying for another two or three years after the Rose report in order to get this research done? I wouldn't. It seems to me that the most responsible decision was made in the circumstances: the government recommended a generic type of phonics teaching which already had a very good track-record in schools despite variations from programme to programme. It said that schools were perfectly free to use commercial programmes, but it also provided an outline programme (one without classroom resources) for those schools which did not want to use commercial programmes.

Jenny C.

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sat May 03, 2008 12:39 pm

And what we need to understand is that the most effective programmes share commonalities - including what they 'don't' do, not just what they do 'do'.

The effective programmes are also about looking at effective teaching techniques. Some of these may seem obvious like multi-sensory teaching and learning activities with plenty of revision, repetition, overlearning and application of learning.

Teachers also need to become very astute at evaluating programmes, their practice and the effectiveness of their practice rather than just following advice and prescription. They are still key players in making the good resources become good teaching.

Programmes are, after all, about practical resources and how best to use them. Even when a programme provides good resources, teachers can still use them ineffectively.

There are just so many variables to take into account.

We should all be able to distinguish, however, a systematic programme with supportive resources compared to a whole language and mixed methods approach. The government was not acting before time when it changed its reading instruction advice from multi-cueing reading strategies to learning the Alphabetic Code and blending. Such advice is long overdue and the waters are still being muddied for intervention - where intervention is really at the level of teaching 'beginner readers' whatever their age.

g.carter
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Post by g.carter » Sat May 03, 2008 9:12 pm

Am I the only person who is muddled?

Reading Recovery takes children between 5.9 and 6.3. That would put the majority of RR children in Year 2, with some 'early-birth entries' from year l.

Year 2 children 'tested' by Reading Recovery would NOT have received S.P. during Reception and some would have not even have had SP in Year l as Rose recommendations have only been implemented these last few months. So is this a sleight of hand that RR professes to have taken children who have done at least a term in Reception with SP , and Year l ie 5 terms min. of SP? And didn't they get the ball rolling before the Rose recommendations were implemented. I am thoroughly confused.

Could someone enlighten me the re the chronology and whether Reading Recovery were trying to compare their results with 'fantom' SP-not-widely-adopted results.

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maizie
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Post by maizie » Sun May 04, 2008 12:16 am

Geraldine,

As far as I can work out, the chronology goes something like this:

Sept 2005: Children selected for RR for ECAR (the Burroughs-Lange 'Evaluation' and the first ECAR report are for the 2005 -06 school year)

Dec 2006: Publication of Interim Report of Rose review AND announcement by the govt that RR was to be rolled out nationally.

http://www.everychildareader.org/

March 2006: Final Report of Rose review

I recommend a careful reading of this Dfes press release as in it are claims which I think RR are using to justify their claim that phonics teaching has failed the children they work with.

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cg ... =2006_0038
Ruth Kelly added:

“The report also dispels the myth that phonics teaching has been abandoned. Phonics has been a central part of the National Literacy Strategy since it was introduced in 1998 and is already firmly a part of the Foundation Stage.
Sept 2006?: New Primary Framework documents published

May 2007: Publication of Letters & Sounds - Govt guidance on systematic phonics instruction.

Sept 2007: More general implementation of SP


Note that the rollout of RR was announced at the same time as the Rose interim report. I can't remember whether it was before or after; though presumably ministers & the Dfes knew its contents before the interim report was published?

chew8
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Post by chew8 » Sun May 04, 2008 8:33 am

Geraldine writes: 'Reading Recovery takes children between 5.9 and 6.3. That would put the majority of RR children in Year 2, with some 'early-birth entries' from year l.'

It seems that the majority are actually in Year 1, not Year 2. In the London Institute of Education study by Sue Burroughs-Lange, all the children were in Year 1. In the second year (2006-7) of the Every Child a Reader study, 66% were in Year 1 and 34% in Y2 (second ECAR report, p. 12). I think RR was originally aimed at children who had been through one year of schooling and had not got off the ground in reading. The children in England who are given RR in Y2 may be those who have had less than a full year in Reception. If so, it may be reasonable to assume that pretty well all children entering RR have had at least 3 or 4 terms of reading instruction, either all in Reception or some in Reception and some in Y1.

Geraldine also writes 'Year 2 children 'tested' by Reading Recovery would NOT have received S.P. during Reception and some would have not even have had SP in Year l as Rose recommendations have only been implemented these last few months. So is this a sleight of hand that RR professes to have taken children who have done at least a term in Reception with SP , and Year l ie 5 terms min. of SP? And didn't they get the ball rolling before the Rose recommendations were implemented. I am thoroughly confused.

Could someone enlighten me the re the chronology and whether Reading Recovery were trying to compare their results with 'fantom' SP-not-widely-adopted results.'

Post-Rose teaching is still officially only in its first year, so no potential RR candidates can yet have had a full year of it unless they are in schools which were teaching good phonics before this time last year. Until July 2007, the official approach was the 'searchlights' model, which itself probably had its origins in RR, according to Morag Stuart's paper for the 2003 DfES seminar. In that model, phonics was only one of four searchlights, so Y1 or Y2 children who have entered RR between September 2007 and the present are much more likely to be the products of that than of an approach where phonics is 'the prime approach to learning to decode (read) and encode (write/spell)... (Rose recommendations. p. 70 of Rose Report).

The first point at which children who are officially the products of post-Rose teaching could enter RR would be September 2008.

Jenny C.

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sun May 04, 2008 1:59 pm

The details above reveal nothing less than slight-of-hand by government ministers and the Reading Recovery people.

I would also go so far as to say that any teacher (school) who had taught by the synthetic phonics teaching principles properly, and understood them thoroughly, would not tolerate pupils being given intensive Reading Recovery type teaching. They simply wouldn't.

Where is that strong and knowledgeable person at the highest levels who is prepared to stand up and be counted and sort out this mess?

We are poised at an historic moment in British education - and potentially world-wide education where people wish to learn to read and write in the English language - and politics is both promoting synthetic phonics teaching and standing in its way.

We have so much further to go because we need not only to get beginning reading instruction established through synthetic phonics teaching but we need to remediate across the age range where 'readers' (and their teachers) remain in the dark about an 'organised' Alphabetic Code and how to apply it for reading and spelling.

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