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Understanding reading development

Smith, V. (2008) Understanding reading development. British Journal of Educational Studies, 56 (1). pp. 115-117. ISSN 0007-1005

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Abstract

It is more than eighteen months now since Sir Jim Rose published his Independent Review of the Teaching of Early Reading (Rose, 2006). The publicity it occasioned has mostly died down, but waves of gloom continue to reverberate: those of us with broad and liberal understandings of what reading is and what reading is for regret Rose's insistence on discrete synthetic phonics as 'the prime approach to establishing word recognition' (2006, p. 20), and are unconvinced that the 'broad and language-rich curriculum' (p. 29) into which this teaching will be positioned will be anything like broad or rich enough to mitigate the reductionalist and technicist assumptions that so often accompany phonics teaching in the early years. Where, in all this discrete decoding work, we ask, do children learn what reading is good for?