Can the English Nat Curric be interpreted as supporting AP?

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Can the English Nat Curric be interpreted as supporting AP?

Post by maizie » Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:43 pm

This list of bullet points from the 2014 National Curriculum for English Y1 Programme of Study has been discussed today on twitter.

The question was asked whether this list could be used to support the teaching of Analytic Phonics (AP) . While at least one person replied confidently that it couldn’t be (implication being that it could only describe Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) I do have my doubts. I think that it could be interpreted as supporting the teaching of AP and I said so. As far as I can see from ensuing tweets it is thought that it cannot be used in such a way but the objections seem to be relying on the fact that AP is associated with ‘mixed methods’; primarily the use of ‘other strategies’ for word identification (word ID).

I would suggest that it might be argued that the two could be separated. That someone teaching AP could very well claim to be teaching word identification solely through a decoding and blending route and not using ‘other strategies’ for word ID. As far as I can see, although AP starts from a whole word which is then ‘analysed into its component letter/sound correspondences (LSCs), I think that an AP teacher might argue that they are identifying and teaching LSCs and that they could systematically use the phonic knowledge they have taught for the identification of unfamiliar words. And that this can be done without the use of picture and context cues (‘other strategies’)

I proposed this, not because I am an advocate of AP but because I wonder if AP practitioners could plausibly argue that this is how they teach. I am, of course, aware that in the past AP has been associated with ‘other strategies’ for word ID and strategies such as teaching blends and word ID by use of onset and rime; but would this be absolutely necessary?

I’m posting this because I’d be interested in the views of others on this (and, ideally, I’d like it if teachers of AP would contribute their views, though I realise this is unlikely to happen). I have had sufficient ‘debates’ with other people on the subject of SP instruction to know that statements/ wording/ research which seems to SP advocates to be self evident and supporting only SP practice can be interpreted quite differently by people advocating different ways of teaching reading.
Pupils should be taught to:
  • apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words

    respond speedily with the correct sound to graphemes (letters or groups of letters) for all 40+ phonemes, including, where applicable, alternative sounds for graphemes

    read accurately by blending sounds in unfamiliar words containing GPCs that have been taught

    read common exception words, noting unusual correspondences between spelling and sound and where these occur in the word

    read words containing taught GPCs and –s, –es, –ing, –ed, –er and –est endings

    read other words of more than one syllable that contain taught GPCs

    read words with contractions [for example, I’m, I’ll, we’ll], and understand that the apostrophe represents the omitted letter(s)

    read aloud accurately books that are consistent with their developing phonic knowledge and that do not require them to use other strategies to work out words

    re-read these books to build up their fluency and confidence in word reading
.
If different interpretation of these points can be justified by consistent and logical arguments it is worrying for SP advocates who believe that the new English NC endorses only one way of teaching phonics.

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Re: Can the English Nat Curric be interpreted as supporting AP?

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:20 am

Is analytic phonics associated with 'systematic' and 'cumulative' introduction of letter/s-sound correspondences with the provision of cumulative, decodable texts?

I'm not aware of other types of phonics practice or 'method' other than systematic synthetic phonics being associated with cumulative, decodable material.

As we all know, there are goodness-knows-how-many phonics programmes and materials in the world, but I think that one of the telling factors is whether the programme/material is entirely based on 'cumulative' material.

I think that the development of SSP programmes, certainly in England, has increasingly gone down the route of cumulative, decodable content.

You can teach any aspect of phonics, for example, in any order, and do a little exercise of some description to emphasise that teaching point, but if it is not built on with supporting and subsequent content, then it may not be as helpful, and powerful, as a phonics approach which DOES build-in content that is cumulative and decodable.

So, when this issue was raised via Twitter, ironically, it seemed to me that the 8th bullet point was the most critical one to identify it as SSP and not AP.

But, of course, we should not have to identify the intent of the authors' recommendations as it should be made explicit, and not implicit.

I feel equally disappointed that the Simple View of Reading was not mentioned by name - although, in effect, described in the National Curriculum for English. Indeed, I think that the SVoR diagram should have been included in the index - as well as a far more comprehensive alphabetic code - a chart that could have included all the units of sound and spelling alternatives as listed in the National Curriculum.

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Re: Can the English Nat Curric be interpreted as supporting AP?

Post by chew8 » Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:33 pm

The UK conception of synthetic phonics has been heavily influenced by the Clackmannanshire study, without which we wouldn’t be where we are. Cumulative decodable texts were not used in that study, though this doesn’t mean that children were taught to use ‘other strategies’ to identify words. Rather, teachers explicitly taught the non-decodable words which cropped up in the reading scheme books, with due attention to what did and did not fit in with the children's phonic knowledge.

I think, however, that the Clack. study means that we can’t insist too much on the idea that cumulative decodable texts are a necessary part of s.p. The issue is more to do with the way that 'tricky' or 'red' words are dealt with.

Jenny C.

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Re: Can the English Nat Curric be interpreted as supporting AP?

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:29 pm

My understanding is that developments in the national domain in England have been influenced by research findings and classroom findings and good practice.

England benefits from moving onwards with regard to its official promotion of cumulative, decodable reading material as well as guidance to move teachers away from multi-cueing guessing strategies.

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Re: Can the English Nat Curric be interpreted as supporting AP?

Post by chew8 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:52 pm

What I wrote was that ‘the Clack. study means that we can’t insist too much on the idea that cumulative decodable texts are a necessary part of s.p.’. I italicised ‘necessary’ to make the point that I don’t think we are justified in implying that s.p. is being taught only if decodable texts are being used – that could be taken as implying that s.p. was not taught in the Clack. study.

I am very much in favour of decodable texts, but I think that if they are well used alongside good s.p. teaching from the start of Reception (not covered by the National Curriculum), many children quickly reach the point where they can decode virtually anything, making use of ‘tweaking’ where necessary. In fact, what I see in my voluntary work is that most children reach this point by the first or second term of Y1 even when texts ‘consistent with their developing phonic knowledge’ (see the National Curriculum for Y1) have not been used very systematically up until then. Half of me is surprised by this, but the other half realises that self-teaching has kicked in.

It seems to me that the key difference between analytic phonics and s.p., as dealt with in the Clack. study, is whether ‘sight’ words are or are not the starting point. Even the Scottish a.p. approach identified by Johnston and Watson sometimes included s.p., but only after a sight-word start. The point of any kind of phonics teaching, however, at least for reading, is surely to give children a strategy for independently identifying words which are not sight words – i.e. unfamiliar words. Children need to have some way of working them out – s.p. gives them a strategy from the start, but presumably the a.p. assumption is that even if sounding out and blending is not eventually taught, children will make their own deductions about how the GPCs they’ve learnt in connection with sight words can be used in reading unfamiliar words.

I spend about seven hours a week hearing children read, so the situation where they encounter unfamiliar words is one which I see quite frequently. I’m conscious of using two different approaches: I get the child to try sounding and blending when I can see a good chance that this will work, given the nature of the word and the level of the child’s phonic knowledge, but if the word is too tricky for this I tell the child what it is and only then explain the GPCs – ‘bought’ and ‘chauffeur’ have cropped up this week. So I do sometimes use what might be regarded as an a.p. approach, but I see this as perfectly consistent with an overall s.p. approach as long as the child is coping independently with most words. It’s when children need constant help that I feel the need of decodable books, as these books enable them to get the feel of being able to work all or most words out without help. It’s then that I see a phenomenon that I call ‘bit between the teeth’ (abbreviated to ‘bbt’ in the notes I make on the children) – the child starts attempting every word by sounding and blending, with little or no further prompting from me.

Jenny C.

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Re: Can the English Nat Curric be interpreted as supporting AP?

Post by Elizabeth » Sun Apr 17, 2016 7:21 pm

It depends on how “analytic phonics” is defined. I looked it up and found a few definitions which I have copied below. Not one of them conforms to all of the following points in the English National Curriculum:
• apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words
• respond speedily with the correct sound to graphemes (letters or groups of letters) for all 40+ phonemes, including, where applicable, alternative sounds for graphemes
• read accurately by blending sounds in unfamiliar words containing GPCs that have been taught
Here’s one from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytical_phonics:
Analytical phonics refers to an approach to the teaching of reading in which the phonemes associated with particular graphemes are not pronounced in isolation. Children identify (analyse) the common phoneme in a set of words in which each word contains the phoneme under study.
i.e. not by blending sounds

Here’s the definition given in A Systematic Review of the Research Literature on the Use of Phonics in the Teaching of Reading and Spelling by Carole J. Torgerson, Greg Brooks and Jill Hall
Analytic phonics: A form of phonics teaching in which sounding-out is not used. Instead, teachers show children how to deduce the common letter and sound in a set of words which all begin (or, later, end) with the same letter and sound, e.g. pet, park, push, pen.
again, not by blending sounds

In Appendix 2 of the Interim Report of Jim Rose’s Independent review of the teaching of early reading, this definition is given:
Analytic phonics refers to an approach to the teaching of reading in which the phonemes associated with particular graphemes are not pronounced in isolation.
i.e. children are not asked to respond speedily with the correct sound to graphemes (letters or groups of letters) for all 40+ phonemes,

According to Elizabeth Buie in the TES https://www.tes.com/article.aspx?storycode=2072668:
One of the differences between the systems is that in analytic phonics, children analyse letters sounds after the word has been identified, whereas in synthetic phonics the pronunciation of the word is discovered through sounding and blending.
i.e., identify the word first in contrast to sounding and blending

The following is from “Children’s Books and Reading” http://www.childrens-books-and-reading. ... onics.html:
In analytic phonics children are taught to analyse whole words to detect spelling patterns and then split them into the onset and rime.
i.e. at the level of onset and rime, not phonemes

According to the authors of Get Reading Right http://www.getreadingright.com.au/analy ... c-phonics/, re analytic phonics:
This method has children ‘analysing a word’, taking clues from recognition of the whole word, the initial sound and the context.
i.e., begin with the whole word, not “read accurately by blending sounds in unfamiliar words”
Elizabeth

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Re: Can the English Nat Curric be interpreted as supporting AP?

Post by maizie » Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:50 am

Thank you for that, Elizabeth.

The bit that puzzles me is what is the point of identifying the LSCs in words if children aren't to use them for sounding out and blending?

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Re: Can the English Nat Curric be interpreted as supporting AP?

Post by chew8 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:55 am

maizie: my take on this, as I wrote earlier, is that ‘presumably the a.p. assumption is that even if sounding out and blending is not eventually taught, children will make their own deductions about how the GPCs they’ve learnt in connection with sight words can be used in reading unfamiliar words’.

Even a.p. teachers must surely realise that children do eventually have to be able to work out unfamiliar words independently. Buie (see the article linked to in Eizabeth’s post) was writing about a.p. in Scotland, and she says that in the third term, ‘teachers may show children how to sound and blend consecutive letters in unfamiliar words to pronounce them, as in "cuh-ah-tuh" for cat’. Johnston and Watson make the same point, but both they and Buie make it clear that although this type of teaching may feature after an a.p. start, it doesn’t always feature. If it doesn’t feature, I assume that children are expected to deduce the strategy for themselves. Many probably manage to do this, but I think it's safer to teach it explicitly, and as real beginners are the ones to whom all words are unfamiliar in their written form, I see the most logical time to teach sounding out and blending, using taught GPCs, as being at the very start of reading instruction.

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Re: Can the English Nat Curric be interpreted as supporting AP?

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:04 pm

Thank you for all the links and explanations, Elizabeth, they are very helpful for this thread.

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Re: Can the English Nat Curric be interpreted as supporting AP?

Post by chew8 » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:06 am

Some of the definitions quoted by Elizabeth seem to go back to Dorothy Strickland (1998):
She wrote:Analytic phonics refers to an approach in which the sounds associated with letters are not pronounced in isolation. Children identify the phonic element from a set of words in wich each word contains the particular element under study. For example, teacher and students discuss how the following words are alike: pat, park, push and pen.
I suppose this could be done without pronouncing the sound in isolation (e.g. ‘They all start with the same sound’), but it would seem more obvious to say ‘They all start with /p/’.

Onset-rime is one kind of a.p., and Goswami has said in print that it requires a ‘sight’-word start. In Scotland, however,a.p. has typically worked at the phoneme level and has involved pronouncing sounds in isolation. As I see it, it's the 'sight'-word start which is the key distinguishing feature of a.p., at least in the UK context.

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Re: Can the English Nat Curric be interpreted as supporting AP?

Post by maizie » Mon May 09, 2016 10:23 am

Reading Greg Brooks' 2003 report on the 2003 Phonics seminar I came across this, which seems to be relevant to this discussion:


Not all advocates of synthetic phonics would agree. Jennifer Chew (2001) claims that ‘most of the work on phonemes [in the NLS] leans towards the analytic end of the spectrum’, and Sue Lloyd (2003, p.25) maintains that ‘Synthetic phonics does not start with whole printed words. It starts with single letters, and the sounds the letters represent.’ If this is meant to suggest that only this entirely bottom-up variety of phonics merits the name ‘synthetic’, this seems to me too extreme. I can envisage a ‘whole-word synthetic phonics’ which would begin with whole words but which, unlike analytic phonics, did use grapheme-phoneme translation and blending. It would be an approach which attempted to teach all-through-the-word phonics from the outset.

A ‘whole-word synthetic phonics’ approach might be an uneasy compromise, and might be less effective (because it did not start children off with the basic building blocks of the alphabetic system); but on the other hand it would show children right from the start that meaning-making is the aim just because whole words were used. It is an empirical question whether such an approach exists and, if so, how effective it is. I would certainly not advocate it; I only draw attention to it as a possibility.
(Sound Sense; the teaching of phonics in the National Literacy Strategy (July 2003) p14 https://t.co/snjCer6NP9 )
I have no idea how widely this report was read by practising teachers (if at all) but I am wondering if some might be working this way; perhaps using Prof. Brooks thoughts as endorsement of their 'method'. I realise that it is not 'analytic phonics' as such (as per my original post) but it is a subversion of SP/LP teaching.

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Re: Can the English Nat Curric be interpreted as supporting AP?

Post by chew8 » Mon May 09, 2016 5:06 pm

I was thinking along similar lines to maizie over the weekend and had already drafted some of the following.

I don’t think many teachers would have read the 2003 ‘Sound sense...’ paper by Greg Brooks, but what I think probably happened was that it influenced official thinking for some time after that, including Playing with Sounds (published 2004), government comments made in 2005 (see below), the Early Reading Development Pilot (ERDP - 2005-6), and the Communication. Language and Literacy Development programme (CLLD - 2006-2010). I think the ERDP came too long after the 2003 paper to be a direct result of it as suggested by maizie elsewhere (http://www.rrf.org.uk/messageforum/view ... f=1&t=6275), but there was probably a more indirect connection.

In that 2003 paper, Brooks took the line that the acid test of whether a programme was synthetic or analytic was whether sounds were or were not pronounced in isolation, but this was not the line taken in the Clackmannanshire research: there, the distinction was much more to do with whether or not all-through-the-word sounding and blending was taught from the start, and with the speed of letter-sound teaching. The criterion used by Brooks, however, allowed him to state firmly in 2003 that the National Literacy Strategy’s Progression in Phonics was synthetic. He argued that its version of blending (synthesising), where the whole spoken word was known in advance, was a ‘scaffolded’ version, whereas the stricter version represented a ’north face of the Eiger attitude’, where ‘success is only worthwhile when achieved by the hardest route’. His paper appeared on the DfEs website in August 2003, and I wrote to him immediately saying that this overstated the level of difficulty and that the NLS put far too little emphasis on the unscaffolded version of blending, the point of which was to use the print to ‘discover’ the word, as he himself had written in a book published the previous year. Obviously the word is not being ‘discovered’ if it has already been identified in some other way. Whatever his reaction to that was, I think that his 2003 paper was probably still influencing official thinking years later, so that any programme where phonemes were pronounced in isolation was regarded as synthetic phonics, even if the word was already known in advance – OK according to his criterion, but not according to the criterion used in the Clack. research which, after all, was what had sparked the interest in the whole issue.

The ERDP and the Rose review ran concurrently. Both were announced in July 2005 in the government’s response to the parliamentary Education and Skills report Teaching Children to Read, which had been published in April 2005. That response states that ‘We will ensure that the work in the pilots is informed by any interim recommendations from Jim Rose and conversely that he is able to draw on findings from the pilots in his final report’. The final Rose report was published in March 2006, and took account of ERDP findings up to December 2005 – see paragraphs 95-96. The ERDP itself ran until July 2006, but I don’t know what account it took of Jim Rose’s interim findings, which had been published in Dec. 2005.

That government response also states that the pilot (i.e. ERDP) ‘will be based on the Primary National Strategy’s ‘Playing with Sounds’ programme, which has all the key components of a synthetic phonics programme’ (p. 14) – perhaps the government regarded the line Brooks had taken as justification for this. PwS in its published form is far from being what we would regard as s.p., however – and see this 2005 article by Elizabeth, which is about a training session: http://www.rrf.org.uk/archive.php?n_ID= ... eNumber=55.

The ERDP simply involved a speeded-up version of PwS, but it ran only for one year. I think the more important programme, from the point of view of the Machin et al. study discussed in the other thread, was CLLD, which started in Sept. 2006 and ran until 2009-10. According to an off-the-record comment I’ve heard, this programme was seen and criticised before it went into schools by someone who understood s.p. – this criticism led to the decision to produce a government s.p. programme, work on which started in Oct. 2006. In that autumn term, therefore, we had a rather ironical situation: a high-profile official programme (CLLD) supposed to help teachers implement the Rose recommendations was up and running in schools despite having already been recognised as faulty, while the writing of a new programme to correct the faults was being overseen by the person who had made the recommendations.

The CLLD influence lasted from 2006-10 and may well have caused teachers to implement synthetic phonics programmes less systematically than they should have done. I think the introduction of the Year 1 phonics check in 2012 has made a useful difference and that the new National Curriculum should help still further, but it's a slow process..

Jenny C.

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