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Gordon Askew has written this open letter to the new Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, pleading with her to maintain the current phonics push in primary schools:

The danger that Gordon raises attention to is that any plateau in performance pushes ministers towards “finding the answer”. With a lack of any other ideas, the anti-phonics crew are waiting with very persuasive arguments. Then our literacy rates will drop back down to around 48% again, where they were in 1994, 1948 and 1910, the last times that phonics had been pushed out of the classrooms.

This is a battle that has been going for 200+ years and the Wheel of History keeps turning, like Groundhog Day, every 20-40 years. Nicky Morgan has no more knowledge of teaching reading than the average parent and so can only go by what the “experts” tell her. Often the most eloquent will win the day. The Real Books argument is very beguiling.

Of course our view is that Guided Phonetic Reading is the right answer. The data we collect makes it very clearly superior to conventional phonics, which leaves around 15-25% of children still struggling because they choose to sight read words even after phonics instruction. And teaching explicit whole word reading strategies is nothing less than a disaster for half the children in the classroom.

David Morgan is CEO of Oxford Learning Solutions and founder of the Easyread System. He has dedicated his life to studying literacy teaching methods and how to help children with dyslexia.