Sunday, January 29, 2017

Phonics screening tests: A suggestion

Sent to the Australian, January 29
Re: Literacy and numeracy tests for Australian year 1 students (January 29)

I hope that one the phonics screening tests will ask children to pronounce these words: hot, hoot, hook, hour, honest, house, hope, honey, and hoist. Each starts with "ho" but is pronounced differently. I don't think one person in a million knows the phonics rules that explain this, but all fluent English readers can pronounce these words correctly.
The example comes from literacy scholar Frank Smith, who points out that many phonics rules are very complicated and have many exceptions. A few basic phonics rules can help make texts more comprehensible, but after that, the phonics path is hopeless.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

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