I have never seen anyone deny that synthetic phonics is useful to learner readers.
I have seen some who believe it is enough, and many more who believe it needs to be combined with comprehension work, or contextual work, or other approaches to decoding – a pretty wide range of views.
But I have seen a few who, when faced with stories of problems in schools using a purely SSP approach, deny that the problems described are even possible.
There are two main reasons given when denying the possibility of problems:
- The person telling the story has misinterpreted what they have seen.
- The person telling the story has ideological reasons for disliking phonics, and their story cannot therefore be trusted.
It is possible that in some cases either or both of these things may be true. But I have heard stories from people I trust (including educational professionals I know personally), and the stories from other people sound similar enough for me to wonder whether there is a pattern of issues which needs to be confronted.
If something is potentially going wrong with SSP in some schools, denial is definitely not a sensible response.
So I’m asking, here, for specific anecdotes about any problems which you have come across, and any specific benefits you have seen, either as a parent/carer or as a teacher/teaching assistant, and which you would be happy to share and discuss via this blog.
NB I know SSP has all sorts of good characteristics, and others that are up for debate. I’m not asking for theoretical reasons why SSP might go wrong, or for reasons why it cannot go wrong, either: there’s a quite enough of that about as it is.