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CentrePiece article
in brief... Children's reading: evaluating a new teaching method
Stephen Machin, Sandra McNally and Martina Viarengo
June 2016
Paper No' CEPCP472:
Full Paper (pdf)

CentrePiece 21 (1) Summer 2016

Tags: education; synthetic phonics; reading; education attainment; government policy

Children at risk of struggling with their reading get long-term benefits from ‘synthetic phonics’, the current favoured method among education policy-makers in England. The benefits for disadvantaged pupils justify the fixed cost of a year’s intensive training support to teachers. These are the conclusions of research by Sandra McNally and colleagues, which evaluates the effectiveness of synthetic phonics in improving children’s literacy. They find that teaching reading this way helps children from poorer backgrounds or those who do not have English as a first language. But on average, a government policy that requires all primary schools to use the method has had no measurable effect on pupils' reading scores at age 11.

This article summarises ‘“Teaching to Teach” Literacy’ by Stephen Machin, Sandra McNally and Martina Viarengo, CEP Discussion Paper No. 1425, April 2016.