I started this blog with a list of questions; I have some answers, but mostly I’ve ended up with…more questions…..
The latest question is about handling more able readers.
Having browsed around John Walker (Sounds Write)’s blog, I asked him via Twitter if there were any posts about phonics and more able readers, because I couldn’t find anything specifically on that. His answer was that
‘More able’ isn’t an unproblematical term as far as phonics is concerned.
Twitter, as he acknowledges, is not the place to try and get into why that might be, so here I am again, asking questions.
So, for John and anyone else who has the time and inclination to reply,
What is it that makes the term ‘more able reader’ a problematical term in relation to phonics?
In order to clarify, I’d make a distinction between various possible definitions of ‘able reader’:
- Those who start school having started learning to read;
- Those who start school as non-readers but pick it up much more quickly than their peers.
Is that a useful distinction? The first, presumably, would divide in terms of practice between children who have started to read in a SSP context and those who have not: I’m interested, in principle, in approaches to supporting all three situations, but from a personal perspective I’m most interested in those who start as non-readers, since this has been our experience with the boys.
So my questions this time are partly a continuation of my desire in this blog to understand SSP practice in general, but they are also partly just me, as a parent, hoping to find guidance in navigating the particular situation in which we as a family find ourselves.
Debbie Hepplewhite’s ‘incidental’ approach goes a long way to create flexibility, of course, but I don’t imagine she’s the only SSP practitioner to have thought about this issue.
(NB I’m interested in how different SSP programmes accommodate prior reading skill or a steeper learning trajectory or both. I’m also aware that ability and attainment are not the same thing, and that all sorts of factors can lead to one child seeming more ‘able’ than another.)