Where is the evidence to tell us that pure phonics instruction produces real reading of real texts in any testably better way than mixed methods (so called) alongside good library provision, and reading recovery teaching not based solely on phonics?
Sorry to do Groundhog Day on you, but you'll know that I have made repeated requests for evidence on some key matters: is the huge time, expense, effort and government subsidy for intensive phonics teaching across Reception and Year 1 classes, justified by an outcome that gives us all (children, parents, teachers and society) more and/or better real readers ie readers reading for meaning? ('More' or 'better' than children exposed to eg multiple methods of learning to read; more or better than children exposed to multiple methods AND intensively to a wide range of texts from which they can choose etc AND reading recovery not based solely on phonics).
So, evidence that shows that children doing intensive phonics work performing well at phonics tests (eg like the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1) does not count. Such tests only show that children are able to 'decode' - ie say out loud the single words that they see on the page, most, if not all of which, are phonically regular.
I also asked if anyone could provide evidence that children who have undergone this intensive phonics work are (or are not) better able to read out loud and/or read and understand passages of writing from 'real books' than children being taught by multiple methods plus intensive exposure to a variety of texts from which they can choose plus reading recovery not based solely on phonics. .
The evidence we need is for the years beyond years 1 and 2.
(I'll mention in passing that Dr Charles Hulme has shown quite clearly that with Year 4 children the key thing that improves comprehension scores is not more phonics, but more talk, more oral discussion about the text.)
As I have said, Professor Stephen Krashen of the University of Southern California has stated quite clearly that the evidence that intensive phonics instruction does produce better readers and better comprehension scores does not exist. He's quite certain about that.
To date, I have only received one letter from a researcher/practitioner on this matter (Dr Barry Sullivan).
" Children need to have been exposed to and heard words in context before they can understand them - it takes a skilled reader indeed to read a new word and work out its meaning through analysis of the context it is presented in. "
So, I think we are getting to some kind of showdown here.
The policy for intensive phonics instruction in Reception and Year 1, with government approved schemes, enforced by the Phonics Screening Check, is in place. It is costing millions. It is costing schools millions in books and training. The government is shelling out millions in subsidies and in buying in the tests. These are methods which are changing the nature of how our children and teachers spend their time in school. We are all entitled to ask questions about the matter, all entitled to know if this is money spent based on evidence, or based on something else. If it's based on something else, what can this 'something else' be?
So, to repeat:
Where is the evidence to tell us that pure phonics instruction produces real reading of real texts in any 'testably' better way than mixed methods (so called) alongside good library provision, and reading recovery teaching not based solely on phonics?
I know this blog sounds as if I have definitely made up my mind about the whole thing, but I can assure anyone reading this, if they can produce the evidence that intensive phonics teaching has produced real reading of real texts, then I, for one, will be the first to show it off to all and sundry. Then it can be looked at to see if it's reproducible (ie that others in other situations can produce the same results) and it can be checked by those from the research field.