This is a MUST WATCH video of IFERI committee members giving evidence in Scotland - but relevant internationally

This is the hub of the site and the place to post queries, start discussions and join in the conversation!
User avatar
Posts: 2463
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: This is a MUST WATCH video of IFERI committee members giving evidence in Scotland - but relevant internationally

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Tue May 10, 2022 7:02 pm

On May 4th 2022, Anne's petition was officially closed.

When Anne was invited to provide evidence to support her petition, Dr Sarah McGeown also provided research-informed evidence. Dr McGeown now writes about the official closing of Anne's petition in the TES:

Improving literacy through research-informed reading instruction

The closure of a Scottish parliamentary petition leaves questions about use of synthetic phonics in schools, says Dr Sarah McGeown ... nstruction

It's looking like those in charge of guidance for the teaching profession (politicians and selected advisors) are disregarding both the literacy practitioner specialist and the researcher informed by the international inquiries into the teaching of reading and international settled science about how best to teach reading.

In August 2017, a petition lodged by Anne Glennie - a literacy consultant, publisher and former primary teacher - was submitted, with the title "Improving literacy standards in schools through research-informed reading instruction".

However, last week, on 4 May 2022, the petition was closed by the Scottish Parliament's Education, Children and Young People Committee.

The past two-and-a-half years have been extraordinary in Scottish education, and Covid-19 education recovery is now a priority. This includes optimally supporting children's literacy, learning and reducing the inequalities that have been amplified as a result of the pandemic.

In this context, the closing of petition PE01668 could not have come at a worse time. It represented a real opportunity to improve children's literacy skills and experiences, and to improve equity.

At present, there is considerable variation in provision across Scottish initial teacher education in terms of access to knowledge about research-informed reading instruction. Furthermore, there is a lack of guidance and support for experienced teachers to engage in continuing professional learning to support their practice.

The petition was lodged to ensure all teachers had access to the latest scientific research, specifically systematic synthetic phonics: an approach to initial reading instruction, which explicitly teaches children the relationship between letters and sounds and encourages children to blend letter-sound correspondences to read new words.

There is a considerable body of research in support of systematic phonics, with synthetic approaches offering clear advantages in terms of optimising the order of letter sounds taught (for a review see Castles et al, 2018).

The importance of getting it right from the beginning cannot be understated. Children who become independent and successful readers early on are more likely to be motivated to read, enjoy reading and read frequently (Toste et al, 2020; van Bergen et al, 2018) and have better reading skills throughout school and later in life (Castles et al, 2018). Therefore, providing children with an optimal start in their journey as readers is essential.

This petition was closed, in my opinion, as a result of a misunderstanding of what it represented. Firstly, the petition did not request a single mandated approach to the teaching of reading across Scottish primary schools. Instead, it requested that all new and experienced teachers had access to research (specifically the contribution that psychological science has made to understanding how children learn to read) to be able to apply this in their own classroom contexts.

Secondly, the idea that "all children learn differently" and that, therefore, teachers should use a variety of approaches to teach reading, unfortunately, often disadvantages the very children that this argument is made to support.

It is difficult to know what could or should happen next with the priorities of this petition, but I believe that everyone working in Scottish education shares the same goal. We are all committed to improving children's literacy experiences and outcomes, to ensuring children get off to the best possible start in their reading, and that they feel positive, confident and successful as readers.

We need to find better ways to communicate with each other so that we can work collectively to achieve these goals, drawing upon the breadth of research and pedagogical knowledge available to us - the cost of poor communication and misunderstanding is just too high.

Dr Sarah McGeown is a senior lecturer in developmental psychology based in Moray House School of Education and Sport, at the University of Edinburgh

Please note: Go to the original article to access various links to further content.
User avatar
Posts: 2463
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: This is a MUST WATCH video of IFERI committee members giving evidence in Scotland - but relevant internationally

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:19 pm ... nd-phonics

This article in the TES by Henry Hepburn references Anne Glennie's petition.

Anne is reaching a wider audience in Scotland - and must be commended for her continued efforts to inform teachers in Scotland.

The closing of her petition, however, demonstrates that those in authority - those people who could make the quickest and greatest difference to teacher-training content - and the quickest changes to teaching content - are clearly not sufficiently informed to make informed decisions!

Embracing hard questions over reading approaches and phonics

A Scottish Learning Festival event raised concerns about reading approaches in schools. That willingness to grapple with difficult questions is a good sign, says Henry Hepburn

22nd September 2022
User avatar
Posts: 2463
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: This is a MUST WATCH video of IFERI committee members giving evidence in Scotland - but relevant internationally

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Sun Sep 25, 2022 2:14 pm

This article by Dr Sarah McGeown references the status quo in Scotland - and also that the lack of research-informed reading instruction is still an international issue:

We have taken systematic synthetic phonics on as a universal way to teach children to decode, all within the big five areas of teaching literacy

https://edition.pagesuite-professional. ... 58&pnum=41

The science of reading

Dr Sarah McGeown, Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, has been carrying out research into children's reading acquisition and development for 15 years.

Dr McGeown explains that phonics is an approach to reading instruction which explicitly teaches children to use letter-sound correspondences in order to decode familiar words.

In the article, we read:

Professor Rastle explains that this is a global war, occurring in English-speaking countries, and only in England has the war been "won by science".

"England has put in place a national policy where primary schools are required to teach reading via systematic phonics."

A simple phonics screen check was recently implemented to test the effectiveness of this practice.

"When introduced in 2012, teachers in England were saying they were using phonics; however, in that year only 58 per cent of children met an acceptable standard in their phonics knowledge. Over each successive year that figure has increased dramatically, and it's now over 80 per cent."

In Scotland, phonics may also be used widely, but is one of many methods that teachers may use to teach children to read.

Do read the full article. It could apply to many schools internationally - and this is such a tragedy for teachers (they may be ill-informed and insufficiently trained if they promote multi-cueing word-guessing), and it's truly a tragedy for children trying to read (and spell) in the English language.

Take a look at the further information (chart) that Professor Kathy Rastle has added to this thread featuring the work of Anne Glennie in promoting the need for evidence-informed reading instruction in Scotland - it indicates the profound importance of phonics knowledge in Year One as a predictor of reading comprehension in Year Four: ... 3407212548

Return to “General Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests