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Keywords:

  • literacy policy;
  • literacy research;
  • phonics;
  • reading teaching;
  • synthetic phonics

Abstract

The Rose Report, commissioned by the Secretary of State for Education for England, recommended in March 2006 that early reading instruction must include synthetic phonics. This paper evaluates the extent to which research evidence supports this recommendation. In particular, a review of international research into the teaching of early reading shows that the Rose Report's main recommendation on synthetic phonics contradicts the powerful body of evidence accumulated over the last 30 years. In this paper it is argued that action already taken by the UK government to change the National Curriculum in line with the Rose Report's recommendations represents a change in pedagogy not justified by research.