Teaching Synthetic Phonics

Series Teaching Handbooks
Author(s) Rhona Johnston, Joyce Elizabeth Watson
Publisher Learning Matters Ltd
Published 2007
Pages 160
Price £13.50
ISBN 9781844451210
Reviewed by Miss Alex Melrose
Stockport College
Review published 9 January 2008
Teaching Synthetic Phonics provides a useful guide to the whole field of synthetic phonics in that it provides knowledge of the principles behind what is meant by synthetic phonics in a succinct and easy-to-understand style as well as providing practical guidance on how to carry out a synthetic phonics lesson. In addition to this it discusses ways to assess children’s understanding both formatively and summatively and provides theoretical background and current research.

Structurally, the chapters are ordered logically so that discussion about what phonics is, phonemic awareness and reading development are presented to the reader in the first part of the book. Only after this does the reader get information about how to teach synthetic phonics. This is explained clearly and comprehensively in developmental phases. A case study addresses the diagnosis of reading problems and teachers’ views on synthetic phonics.

Each chapter outlines the learning objectives to be covered, and provides a summary of key points and a reference list. Relevant Professional Standards are listed for those readers who may be working towards Qualified Teacher Status.

This book would be useful for a wide range of professionals involved in education. Its readable style makes the area of phonics easier to understand, and puts into perspective the thinking and teaching processes underpinning this sometimes controversial issue.