Kelly endorses sound-led approach to literacy

By the age of five, all children will be taught to read through the recognition of the sounds of letters, the government has announced.

Endorsing the recommendations of the independent review of the teaching of early reading by education consultant Jim Rose, education secretary Ruth Kelly said phonics should be taught “systematically and discretely” within a broad curriculum that takes full account of children’s developing speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.

Synthetic phonics teaches literacy by the sounds of the letters. Children recognise the different components within a word so they learn how to blend the word from an early age.

Rose also recommended better integrated catch-up support for children requiring more intensive intervention.

“Getting literacy right in the early years is key to children’s long-term educational success and is at the heart of the education white paper,” Kelly said. “We are absolutely committed to raising attainment and helping those who are falling behind.”

The announcement came as publication of the 2005 Key Stage 2 results revealed that 79% of 11-year-olds are now reaching the expected overall level for their age in English – 1% higher than last year.

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