Pupils who can read are overwhelmingly more likely to succeed at school, achieve good qualifications, and subsequently enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding career. In addition to its substantial practical benefits, reading is one of life’s profound joys.
In addition to its substantial practical benefits, reading is one of life’s profound joys. Every child should have the opportunity to experience the pleasure and enrichment which comes from reading a great novel, biography or play. The canon of English literature – from Christopher Marlowe to Ian McEwan – belongs to every English speaker, whatever their background and no matter where they live. Full participation in this intellectual and cultural heritage depends upon universal, high standards of literacy.
The importance of phonics
There is a substantial body of evidence which demonstrates that systematic synthetic phonics is the most effective method for teaching all children to read. Phonics teaches children how to recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes, identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make, and blend these sounds together to make a word. Children can then use this knowledge to decode new words that they see. This is the first important step in learning to read.
When phonics is taught in a structured way - starting with the easiest sounds, progressing through to the most complex - it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for five to seven-year-olds, and those struggling with reading.