Michael Gove has announced draft proposals for the English National Curriculum (Key Stage 1 and 2) that will be introduced to primary schools in September 2014.
The main aims of the new curriculum are to raise standards in English, whilst at the same time getting children reading for enjoyment.
There has been a lot of anti-phonics press lately, particularly leading up to the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. Much of this is because of the emphasis being placed on decoding words rather than on encouraging reading for meaning and reading for pleasure.
The draft curriculum has obviously been designed with these criticisms firmly in mind. There is a strong emphasis on phonics, but also on other reading skills. It explicitly states that different kinds of teaching are needed for word reading and for comprehension.
I hope that this will be well received. Something drastic needs to be done to raise the reading standards in this country. It is shocking that so many children are still leaving primary school unable to access the curriculum due to poor reading skills. It is also sad that there is so much vitriol whenever the subject of reading and phonics is discussed by those in favour and those against placing undue importance on it.
If the new curriculum can reduce the arguing and achieve what it is setting out to do, then the future could be brighter for many more young readers.
Detailed information has now been published in the national curriculum consultation document published February 2013 – see here