Professor Rhona Johnston and Dr Joyce Watson
Following evidence that the 'synthetic phonics' method greatly improved reading, spelling and reading comprehension in schools in Clackmannanshire, this study compared the Clackmannanshire children with children taught in England via the National Literacy Strategy Scheme Progression in Phonics (analytic phonics).
The children following the synthetic phonics method learnt early on in their education to blend letter sounds throughout words. In the first year of the study in Clackmannanshire the researchers demonstrated that the children who learnt by synthetic phonics read and spelt better than the children who learnt by analytic phonics.
This led them to conclude that a synthetic phonics programme had major and long lasting effects on children’s reading and spelling attainment. In 2006 the Rose Review subsequently recommended that all children should learn to read by a systematic synthetic phonics approach.
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