Eng: Ofsted's Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, announces the publication 'Curriculum research review series: English'

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Eng: Ofsted's Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, announces the publication 'Curriculum research review series: English'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Mon May 23, 2022 1:36 pm

Chief Inspector of schools in England, Amanda Spielman, announces the publication of Ofsted's review of English via Twitter:

Amanda Spielman
@amanda_spielman
·
12m
Very pleased to publish this today - we know this is of interest to many of you.


Research and analysis

Curriculum research review series: English


Published 23 May 2022


https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... es-english

This should be of interest internationally.
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Re: Eng: Ofsted's Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, announces the publication 'Curriculum research review series: Englis

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Mon May 23, 2022 1:45 pm

I'm in the process of reading through the review myself. As my specialism is foundational literacy in the early years and primary, I'm already pleased to see the reference, in brackets, to 'unjoined handwriting'. I have been championing teaching simple print without joins or lead-in joins for some considerable time (as have a few other literacy advisors):


The early English curriculum in schools

Summary

This section will outline findings suggesting that, in the early years and into key stage 1, teachers need to develop children’s spoken language as well as accurate word reading and spelling. They also need to teach children fluent letter formation (unjoined handwriting).

Pupils should be taught to read using a systematic synthetic phonics programme in Reception and this should not be delayed if children are not already phonologically aware. Teaching phonics also supports the development of pupils’ handwriting and spelling. Schools should identify early on any children who have not grasped the alphabetic code and intervene swiftly. Children who master the alphabetic code early on make better progress than their peers who do not. Good language development, including vocabulary, has benefits for pupils beyond their reading.
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Re: Eng: Ofsted's Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, announces the publication 'Curriculum research review series: Englis

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Mon May 23, 2022 1:50 pm

Early reference to the 'Matthew Effect' and the importance of developing vocabulary explicitly, especially in the early years:

Developing vocabulary explicitly, especially in the early years, is therefore critically important. Without action to tackle it, the word gap grows.[footnote 31] This has been called the ‘Matthew effect’: that is, the word-rich get richer and the word-poor get poorer.[footnote 32] If schools work to reduce the word gap in the early years and key stage 1 well, disadvantaged children can develop their vocabulary faster.[footnote 33]


It's very good to see specific reference to the 'simple view of reading' - I am critical that the diagram of the simple view of reading introduced in the independent national review report by Sir Jim Rose (2006) was not provided in the appendix of the national curriculum for Key Stages 1 & 2 as this was a missed opportunity:

The components of reading and writing in the early years and key stage 1

The national curriculum’s programmes of study for reading reflect the simple view of reading.[footnote 34] The updated version of Gough and Tunmer’s original model describes reading comprehension as the product of word recognition and language comprehension.[footnote 35] The national curriculum outlines that:[footnote 36]

Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world.

The programmes of study for key stages 1 and 2 are organised to reflect these 2 aspects of reading – word reading and comprehension.[footnote 37]

The programmes of study for writing distinguish between ‘transcription’ and ‘composition’. This reflects the approach to reading, and sees writing as its counterpart (with spelling as the counterpart of decoding). Transcription also includes handwriting.

Once children are fluent in word reading, they are able to focus on comprehending what they read.[footnote 38] Similarly, fluency in transcription frees up working memory to focus on composing writing.

Teaching word reading and transcription should begin in Reception, as part of the teaching of phonics.[footnote 39] This priority continues into key stage 1 and for older pupils who have not mastered the early stages of learning to read (and write). The Department for Education’s early reading framework provides further guidance.[footnote 40]
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Re: Eng: Ofsted's Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, announces the publication 'Curriculum research review series: Englis

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Mon May 23, 2022 1:56 pm

The recommendation in the review is not to wait for phonemic awareness to develop strongly as if it is a pre-requisite for the teaching of reading:

Starting phonics teaching early

A rigorous review and meta-analysis of research literature on reading by the National Reading Panel (NRP), from the United States, found it highly beneficial for phonics teaching to begin on entry to school.[footnote 42] According to the NRP analysis, systematic phonics teaching is much more effective if introduced early on rather than after American first grade at age 6. Daily systematic phonics instruction leads to a faster start in early reading and spelling.[footnote 43] Findings from cognitive neuroscience reinforce the importance of early phonics teaching. This allows children to develop efficient word-reading skills.[footnote 44] Children become primed to learn to read.

Our overview of research highlighted evidence that showed a systematic synthetic approach is particularly effective and that children need direct instruction in phonics. This is especially the case for those from lower socio-economic status backgrounds and those who are having difficulties reading.[footnote 45] Phonics represents a body of knowledge needed for successful word reading. Synthetic phonics teaches children to decode words: children look at each grapheme to say each corresponding phoneme in turn, and then to blend the phonemes to say the whole word. They are taught to encode (spell) words, by identifying the phonemes in spoken words first and then writing the graphemes that represent the phonemes.

Young children with well-developed phonemic awareness skills tend to be successful readers, while children without these skills are not.[footnote 46] Shanahan defines phonemic awareness as being about ‘hearing and thinking about or manipulating the individual sounds within words’.[footnote 47] However, phonics teaching in Reception should not be delayed if children cannot yet distinguish individual phonemes. This is because children’s ability to do this will typically develop as a result of phonics teaching.[footnote 48] Exposing them to letters and the sounds they represent and teaching them about GPCs in phonics lessons help children to distinguish individual phonemes and improve their phonemic awareness.[footnote 49] Evidence from the NRP concluded that phonemic awareness instruction had a greater impact when it was taught with letters rather than without letters.[footnote 50] Children who find it difficult to distinguish between phonemes often benefit from small group or one-to-one teaching to support them to link sounds to letters.[footnote 51]

Drawing on these research findings, the Department for Education reading framework[footnote 52] states that: ‘To enable children to keep up, they should be given extra practice, either in a small group or one-to-one, whether or not a specific reason has been found. The extra practice should:

-take place in a quiet place, at a regular time every day so that the children become familiar with the routine
-be a school priority, with maximum efforts made to avoid disruption or cancellation
-be provided by a well-trained adult: teacher or teaching assistant
-be consistent with the school’s mainstream phonics programme
-include activities that secure the important phonic knowledge the children have not grasped.’
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Re: Eng: Ofsted's Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, announces the publication 'Curriculum research review series: Englis

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Mon May 23, 2022 2:25 pm

The use, or otherwise, of decodable books for beginners to apply and extend their code knowledge and decoding skill is a hot topic internationally. This is what it states in the review:

Decodable books

The national curriculum requires that children hear, share and discuss a wide range of high-quality books. In terms of their own reading, the national curriculum states that they should practise with decodable books. These are ‘books that are consistent with their developing phonic knowledge and that do not require them to use other strategies to work out words’.[footnote 53] During story time, the books that teachers and parents read to children develop their language knowledge. These books do not need to be decodable because the children are not using them to learn to decode.

Research supports giving children daily opportunities to read words that they can decode, both in isolation and in the books they read.[footnote 54] In using decodable books to practise their reading, children learn to apply their phonic knowledge to words. If children are required to ‘guess’ how to read a word, then this can be a missed opportunity for them to learn and practise how to spell and read the word and thus reduce the need to guess it in the future.[footnote 55]

Research on the effectiveness of decodable texts is sparse. However, a review of research on the influence of decodable texts on reading achievement found that decodability is a ‘critical characteristic’ of early reading text.[footnote 56] The research reviewed suggests that decodability increases the likelihood that children will use a decoding strategy, and may also improve accuracy.[footnote 57] It seems reasonable to presume that successful use of decoding is motivating for children.


I will add, however, that I'm personally very concerned by a lack of clarity in England's context with regard to the use of different types of books for infants and whether or not children should be exposed to the print of books that are not strictly decodable according to the order of progression of introducing the letter/s-sound correspondences in the school's chosen systematic synthetic phonics programme.

You will note, for example, Ofsted's wording (my red and bold):

During story time, the books that teachers and parents read to children develop their language knowledge. These books do not need to be decodable because the children are not using them to learn to decode


Research Professor Jonathan Solity also queried the issue regarding the difference between 'read TO' and exposing children to print beyond the code the children know. Official literature and guidance frequently refers to the adult reading TO the children as different from SHARING book reading with the children.

Teachers in England are becoming concerned about guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) and what they think Ofsted will be expecting to see in their early years settings.

As a practising consultant, teacher-trainer and author of several phonics bodies of work, I am well aware of the increasing, arguably unacceptable, micro-management of the Department for Education in England leading to teachers' and headteachers' growing fearfulness. I am also aware of literacy advisors giving teachers what I would consider to be 'misinformation' regarding reading practices with beginners. There is much more to this issue which I won't get into here but suffice it to say that the use of decodable phonics reading books and/or plain cumulative texts are very pragmatic and helpful for enabling children to 'apply and extend' their phonics knowledge and skills (for writing, too, when these are plain texts and not published books) - but children should, arguably, not be prevented from 'sharing' all manner of literature with adults - not just experiencing being read TO.

It seems to me that Ofsted and the DfE need to fully appreciate this issue and provide some clarity in, to date, their rather misleading and ambiguous statements about with what and how teachers provide reading experiences for children. Their guidance, for example, does not seemingly take into consideration the notions of 'self-teaching' and 'differentiation' - and how these are relevant to teachers' professional discretion regarding which books, and how to arrange reading opportunities, for different purposes and different children.

Here is a 'parallel approach' to reading opportunities:

https://phonicsinternational.com/wp-con ... r-2021.pdf

And here is a brief document on this topic:

https://phonicsinternational.com/wp-con ... bility.pdf

Here is Jonathan Solity's April 2022 article - see pages 10 and 11:

Instructional Psychology and Teaching Reading: An analysis of the evidence underpinning government policy and practice

Jonathan Solity


First published: 22 April 2022


https://bera-journals.onlinelibrary.wil ... /rev3.3349

I shall blog about the issue of 'which books' and how best to utilise them for which children in the near future - at which point I'll provide a link.
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Re: Eng: Ofsted's Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, announces the publication 'Curriculum research review series: Englis

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Mon May 23, 2022 6:40 pm

I've added a link to this important and useful Ofsted publication to the 'Research and Recommended Reading' forum here:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1446&p=3075#p3075

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