Tomorrow’s headlines today

A chance to read a small book token prize! As you might or might not know, the kind of British political commentator who can see nothing good in state schools, has been all over the recent report recommending the teaching of synthetic phonics, and nothing but synthetic phonics in our schools.

I am quite prepared to believe that if the research says so, then synthetic phonics is quite likely the best way of teaching children who cannot read to read[1]. However, lots of children can read by the time they rock up at primary school at the age of 5. I could and I’m not unusual. (By the way; I learned how to read from the Janet and John books, which I suspect were not based on synthetic phonics[2]).

Now there are an awful lot of very stupid people in primary education, and they do stupid things. In particular, I would bet decent money that at least one or two infants teachers in the UK, once this synthetic phonics program has been rolled out nationwide, who will be daft enough to insist that the kids who can already read to a perfectly decent standard[3], have to sit along with the rest of the class and learn phonics. Furthermore, since there is a sizeable minority of primary school teachers who are bloody-minded and nasty as well as being stupid (email me for a list of names), I would bet decent money that there will be a fair few who are prepared to actually confiscate Janet & John books and forbid their owners from reading them, in order to make them concentrate on their synthetic phonics.

Therefore, the book token prize goes to the first reader who spots a story in the Telegraph castigating the political correctness gone mad of the trendy lefty teachers who are obsessed with forcing socialist modern synthetic phonics down kids throats when every fule kno that the best way to teach kids to read is with the good old fashioned Janet and John books. I doubt you will have to wait more than a year or two to claim the prize.

[1] or at least, to teach children who cannot read, to identify lists of words, which is not actually the same thing as “reading” and I have seen enough of the business school literature on perverse metrics to suspect that the difference might be important.
[2]good luck teaching your kid to read the phrase “synthetic phonics”, by the way, whatever method you use
[3] by the way there is no evidence at all that they gain any long term educational advantage from doing so


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