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Does Analytical Phonics Work?

Analytical Phonics

Analytical Phonics (also known as Analytic Phonics) uses the analysis of word forms to structure phonic instruction.

The letter groupings in words have patterns and those patterns will often (although not always) be linked to a particular pattern of phonemes. So the principal is that if a child knows /goat/, /boat/ and /float/, then the word /moat/ will be easy to read, even if it is the first time that it has been seen.

It makes logical sense and like most reading systems, it does work to a degree.

Problems with Analytical Phonics

Like with almost any reading system, around 50% of the class will usually pick up literacy fine. However, analytical phonics really struggles with the rest of the class. There are a number of reasons why:

  1. There are over 1000 grapheme to phoneme (ie letter pattern to sound) relationships in English. So it is natural for a child to get confused because it is very inconsistent in its spelling.
  2. Learning letter patterns is exceptionally boring
  3. The child is being distanced from the underlying phonemic structure of the word and guided back towards sight memorisation of whole words

Analytical Phonics has always achieved disappointing results in mainstream education and has therefore left open the door for the repeated rise of whole word sight-reading instruction.

A better alternative: visual phonics

There is an alternative to analytical phonics that has better results and is much less boring for the learner. It’s called visual phonics. We run an online reading system that uses a type of visual phonics called Trainertext, to get quicker, easier results.