There’s been a lot written about the new phonics test that is being introduced in UK schools in June.
Michael Rosen cogently put the arguments against it on his blog this morning.
A major concern is that the test involves asking children to read a list of items, and takes no account of whether they understand them. Indeed, the list includes nonwords (i.e. pronounceable letter strings, such as "doop" or "barg") as well as meaningful words.
So children will be “barking at print” - a very different skill from reading for meaning.
I can absolutely see where Rosen is coming from, but he’s missing a key point. You can’t read for meaning if you can’t decode the words.
It’s possible to learn some words by rote, even if you don’t know how letters and sounds go together, but in order to have a strategy for decoding novel words, you need the phonics skills.
Sure, English is an irritatingly irregular language, so phonics doesn’t always give you the right answer, but without phonics, you have no strategy for approaching an unfamiliar word.
Read more of this article here: Phonics screening: sense and sensibility