How effective are systematic synthetic phonics as a reading strategy in a South Wales Primary School?
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This study sought to find out specifically ‘How effective systematic synthetic phonics are as a reading strategy in a south Wales Primary School’. Research was undertaken to establish exactly what accounts for a successful phonics programme, looking into the gradual progression of such schemes. Past studies into the literacy attainment levels of the Primary National Strategy are also included within this thesis, documenting the previous success rate within a Clackmannanshire Primary School in Scotland (1997) and how this heavily influenced the Rose Review over the National Curriculum in 2006. This study showed ‘that children who were taught synthetic phonics were eight or nine months ahead in spelling, and seven months ahead in reading’, concluding that a ‘synthetic phonics approach ‘is more effective than the analytical phonics approach.’ ( Ott, 2007, p.43). Analysis into the popular debate into the year one phonic screening check has also been included within this thesis. Data has been collected from an amalgamation of both open ended interviews with each member of teaching staff within a primary school in the Resolven area of Neath Port-Talbot, alongside a distributed questionnaire which employed a variety of methods to gather both quantitative and qualitative data to comprise a chapter of results and research analysis. The research questions addressed within this study apply to specific areas of systematic synthetic phonic based teaching, linking the frequency of its use within the classroom to the improvement in a child’s comprehension skills. It can be seen that a variety of teaching methods are employed to educate the children, using systematic synthetic phonic schemes which are detailed within the research of this study. This thesis concludes that systematic synthetic phonic based teaching programmes are relied upon more heavily within the Foundation Phase, yet are implemented throughout infant teaching through to Year 6, as part of classroom study and group activities outside of the classroom, to aid pupils who require more help. The study indicates that systematic synthetic phonics are most effective as a reading strategy within a primary school when integrated with other strategies, such as ‘analytical phonics’ and a ‘whole-word’ approach, to ensure the pupil grasps an individual style of reading acquisition which best suits them.
BA (Hons) English and Drama
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