Dyslexic pupils not helped by reading method

The Independent says that up to 400,000 dyslexic children may be hampered in learning to read by the Government’s insistence on the use of synthetic phonics to teach them according to a new report…

A poll of more than 500 literacy teachers reveals that more than half (52 per cent) believe that the Government’s approach is either “ineffective” or “not very effective” in helping dyslexic pupils.

They believe that children with other disabilities and the most able pupils could also be held back. The poll, carried out by ReadingWise UK – designers of online literacy materials – casts doubt on the Government’s favoured strategy for improving reading.

“Literacy support needs to be tailored to the learning pace, experience and needs of the individual child – delivered by teachers with the appropriate specialist training to identify those who might struggle,” said Dr Tilly Mortimore, senior lecturer at Bath Spa University’s School of Education.

“Neither children who are fluent readers, nor those at risk of Special Learning Difficulties/dyslexia or other reading disabilities are likely to find a ‘one size fits all’ intensive synthetic phonics programme helpful. Furthermore, the Government’s punitive testing regime risks undermining both teachers and learners.”

The poll also found that only one in five teachers fully supported the Government’s new phonics test for six-year-olds, under which children are asked to spell made-up as well as real words. Teachers have complained that brighter children get the answers wrong because they try to turn every word into a real word. However, the teachers do believe that synthetic phonics has an important role to play in the teaching of reading, with fewer than one in three wanting to see the emphasis on it reduced.

Many said that an increased emphasis on synthetic phonics had led to a measurable improvement in their pupils’ reading standards – 81 per cent of teachers felt that it helped the average child.

Instead, they want a less prescriptive approach, with the overwhelming majority (98 per cent) believing that promoting “reading for pleasure” is the best way to encourage better reading standards. Synthetic phonics came fourth in the poll, with 79 per cent of teachers supporting it…

More (including an interesting insight from the Independent’s Richard Garner) at: Dyslexic pupils not helped by reading method

Do you agree with the majority views in this survey or see things differently? Please give us your insights in the comments or via Twitter…

Labour 'will take axe to student fees'
Homeless free schools cause chaos
Categories: Research.


  1. hecharden

    SchoolsImprove I know a boy with verbal dyspraxia who could not articulate c-a-t at speed.His parents ended up buying alternative scheme.

  2. hecharden

    SchoolsImprove Imagine going into work and someone checking you can read ‘zog’… Just as inappropriate for child who can read fluently!

  3. hecharden

    SchoolsImprove If you have to do phonics check at least do it when child masters sounding out otherwise you hold children up.

  4. hecharden

    SchoolsImprove I know a boy whose reading got worse mid yr1.He started sounding out all words phonetically and ignoring context and meaning

  5. Mike Bell

    @KarinLitzcke MaryMyatt  agreed.  Typical journalistic mistake – not reporting research accurately for the sake of a headline.

    The important question is not what teachers believe, but what works.

  6. ged10

    MaryMyatt How come there are schools with no need for expensive ‘catch-up’ progs? They have research-based knowl.to teach all.

  7. AbiCass1

    hecharden SchoolsImprove I see many children do this, over-rely on blending, then unable to read fluently!!

  8. LantaPlowden

    SchoolsImprove also not helped when TAs guide internal dyslexia tests with lack of professional involvement from external authorities

  9. SamPhillips33

    hecharden SchoolsImprove this is why Reading Recovery works, however, phonics screening has made it more difficult to help some readers.

  10. LoveScienceHQ

    SchoolsImprove agreed,eldest is dyslexic and couldn’t access phonics at all. she started toe-by-toe at 11 and has since flourished.

  11. CCAthlone

    MrAbe101 LiteracyLink1 Totally agree.We need to teach and value ALL students.Not everyone walks at the same pace!

  12. LiteracyLink1

    MrAbe101 wonderful article Gary! ‘Reading for pleasure’ and its importance is the mantra of the literacy team!!

Let us know what you think...