Speech, reading and writing

Problems that go together

It is well known that problems with speech and problems with reading and writing often go together. Many children with either or both of these issues often have difficulty perceiving words and bits of words. These are known ‘co-morbidities’.

With children off school, if they have any problems in any of these areas, the problems get thrust upon the parents. They may read or be told that what they should be doing is ‘synthetic phonics’. 

By the old ‘Look and Say’ approach children were supposed to learn to recognise just whole words without having any way of working out what a new word might be. Without suggesting that there might be any merit in Look and Say as a general approach, synthetic phonics does not work for the commonest words in the language, especially the two very commonest words, ‘a’ and ‘the’, which change in different ways according to whether the next sound begins with a vowel. Taking account of this and other similar issues, for the sake of good results rather than dogma, in many schools teachers teachers follow a judicious mix of approaches.

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