OU blog

Personal Blogs

E801: Action 3.7

Visible to anyone in the world

E801: Action 3.7: Further reflections on 'Specific reading disability (dyslexia): what have we learned in the past four decades?'

House of Lords Debate, 5th March 1980; cited in Ott, 1997)

  • No agreed criteria for distinguishing dyslexic children from other children
  • Children whose difficulties are marked but whose general ability is at least average
  • Distinctive arrangements are necessary for those children
  • The term 'dyslexia' is used too loosely
  • The term is not descriptive enough to be helpful to the teacher

I believe that the comments are still relevant today. Looking back to the comments I recorded from lecturers in action 3.1, there is agreement that distinctive arrangements are required but that the term 'dyslexia' is used too loosely and so there are far too many students falling into the category and insisting on specialist help. The comments from students suggest that the lecturers understand the reading and spelling aspect but do not understand organisational and working memory problems.

Ministerial Statement on Dyslexia, 6th May 2008

More emphasis on specialist training for teachers as well as students and checking on the impact of this training.

Joint response from dyslexia organisations on DCSF Announcement, 6th May 2008

Do we really know how to support these children effectively?

1 SpLD qualified teacher per school

Rose Report (2009)


Page 10 (12 of pdf)

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling.

Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.

Dyslexia occurs across the range of intellectual abilities.

It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points.

Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia.

A good indication of the severity and persistence of dyslexic difficulties can be gained by examining how the individual responds or has responded to well founded intervention.


Screening tests are unreliable Page 11 (13 of pdf)

Personalised approach is necessary Page 13 (15 of pdf)

Short courses for teachers/ some teachers to have specialist training (p.15)

Specialist skills in some schools / Advanced skills for some teachers in all schools / Core skills for all teachers (p.16)

Not a dyslexia specialist for every school but for groups of schools(p.18)



Permalink Add your comment
Share post

E801: Action 1.12: Policy and Reading Research

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Lynn Hunt, Wednesday, 3 Nov 2010, 11:12

E801: Action 1.12: Policy and Reading Research

Clackmannanshire Synthetic Phonics Initiative:

  • 19 primary schools - some very small
  • Lead researcher = teacher for some groups (2nd study)
  • 7 year study
  • Initially synthetic/analytic/phoneme + analytic groups
  • Synthetic progressed fast so all changed to synthetic
  • End of study: decoding words - on av. 3 ½ yrs ahead; spelling - 1yr 9 months ahead; comprehension- 3 ½ months ahead


  • No national curriculum
  • 5 broad national priorities
  • Local Authority has to justify policies to meet local needs
  • Devolved decision-making so in hands of those that deliver it
  • National tests for internal monitoring; taken when child is ready; teacher can award on class work


  • Gov. money; extra to budget
  • Home-school liaison set up

Staff development

  • Specific content and teaching methods
  • Group support
  • Head teachers and management involved
  • Staff monitored and supported
  • Children monitored and support groups for those falling behind
  • Extra training for teachers moving into the school

I have been trying to find the research that discusses the effect of synthetic phonics on producing children that can read words accurately but no longer read for pleasure and so their comprehension and general knowledge is suffering.I cannot find the exact article but there is research that argues both sides i.e. that synthetic phonics benefits reading comprehension and also that it detracts from it!



Permalink Add your comment
Share post

E801: Action 1.11: The Rose Report

Visible to anyone in the world

E801: Action 1.11: The Rose Report

'start 'guessing' at words and end up dyslexic.' (Palmer, 2006, p.23) - What! So guessing at words changes learners' genetic structure does it? You learn something new every day!

Having pointed this out, I have to say I agree with the vast majority of both the reports.

  • Young children do not have the attention span required for whole class learning of something they find difficult/uninteresting
  • Many young children do not have the discrimination skills to identify individual letters
  • Children are individuals: some will be bored at the level of teaching and some will be out of their depth

I have never understood why we cannot put the money into supporting teacher training and CPD and then trust them to be professionals and choose the right approach for each child.

Home educating my children has taught me to trust them. They know what they need and I just kept trying approaches until they clearly indicated that they were happy with it. Interestingly I later took qualifications in teaching basic skills to adults and this was the method recommended all the way through - an individualised response and plenty of variety until the learner found something that helped them understand. For example, I was teaching maths to a 40 year old blind student with 6 children. She was having great difficulty in understanding the concept of equivalency of fractions so I compared it to a large chocolate bar. If it had 24 squares and she broke it in half, how many squares would she have for her and her husband? So 12/24 was the same as 1/2 . She immediately came back with the fact that 1/6 was the same as 4/24 because she could relate it to sharing chocolate between her children. She progressed rapidly from there.

I think that individualised, personalised, concrete experiences are the best way for all learners, no matter what age they are. Learners need to move from concrete experiences to abstract experiences and may need to move back to concrete again at points in their learning when they encounter problems. I return to concrete experiences on this course when I read about a concept and then relate it to my own experiences before I can truly understand how the concept functions and then move on the constructively criticise it. Synthetic phonics from the start is trying to teach the abstract without putting the concrete in place first.


Permalink Add your comment
Share post

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 423535