Telling stories in The Conversation

Filling the pail

Misty, Brian and Robyn entered the dark wood.

“I’m scared,” said Misty

“Are there monsters here?” asked Brian.

“Yes,” said Robyn. “They are all around us. They are… decodable readers!”

Brian jumped. Misty ducked. Robyn whispered, “Let’s go home!”

Three stalwarts of the whole language / balanced literacy / anything-but-phonics camp, Misty Adoniou, Brian Cambourne and Robyn Ewing, have taken to The Conversation to construct a scary story about decodable readers.

Briefly, decodable readers are books that contain a restricted number of letter-sound relationships. If a child has been taught those letter-sound relationships through a phonics programme then he or she will be able to read the book. This is important because it takes months and years to learn all of the letter-sound relationships in English and so books of this kind allow children to read independently from an early stage.

Adoniou et al. make the case that decodable books…

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