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November 11, 2004

Phonics Coming Back Down Under

An editorial in today's Sydney Morning Herald looks at yet another debate between the phonics and whole-language approaches to teaching reading to young children down under:

The way primary schoolchildren are being taught to read has re-emerged as a political issue with the federal Education Minister, Brendan Nelson, asserting that it is a federal, not a state, matter. Two decades after Australian schools largely adopted the so-called whole language approach to teaching, proponents of the older method - phonics - have convinced the Government that the old ways are best. Dr Nelson has announced a national inquiry into literacy in primary schools. The inquiry follows warnings last April from 26 academics that the recent popularity of the whole language teaching approach to reading was ineffective for some children.
Two readings better than one (half way down the page)

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