Home >  Blog >  The teaching of phonics

The teaching of phonics

Posted by Garry Collins, AATE President on 9 January 2015

In the last several days The Australian newspaper has been running a little campaign on the teaching of phonics. While this issue more directly relates to primary school teachers than to most ETAQ members, I thought the following would be of interest.

Specifically in response to a Bill Leak cartoon on the topic, I submitted the following letter to the editor. Below that again you can see the version that the paper printed.

Apart from anything else, I find it interesting that the paper's substitute opening sentence treats "phonics" as a plural noun ("phonics are"). I wonder if they would also write that economics are an interesting subject. Inconsistently, they did not change my "phonics is" in the final sentence.

What I submitted

Phonics not the whole deal in literacy

If offensiveness and misrepresentation are the criteria, then Bill Leak's "acadomedians" cartoon  (8 Jan) is one of the best I've ever seen.

Its middle speech balloon contains the very common English word want. How does phonics alone tell a beginning reader that this word does not rhyme (rime?) with pant?

And in the first speech balloon, word does not contain the same vowel sound that we find in ford. How does phonics alone help there? Further, how does phonics indicate that of does not contain the F consonant?

Phonics is an important element in developing literacy in English but it is important for people to remember that it can never be the whole deal.

Garry Collins
president, Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE)

What The Australian printed

For want of phonics

PHONICS are not the whole deal in literacy. If offensiveness and misrepresentation are the criteria, then Bill Leak's cartoon (8/1) is one of the best I've ever seen. Its middle speech balloon contains the common English word want.

How does phonics alone tell a beginning reader that this word does not rhyme with pant? And in the first speech balloon, word does not contain the same vowel sound that we find in ford. How does phonics alone help there?

Phonics is an important element in developing literacy in English but it is important for people to remember that it can never be the whole deal.

Garry Collins, president, Australian Association for the Teaching of English, Stafford Heights, Qld

Author: Garry Collins, AATE President
About: Garry Collins is the Immediate Past President of ETAQ and began a 2 year term as AATE President on 1 January 2014. A retired high school English teacher, he now works in the School of Education at the University of Queensland as a sessional tutor in English curriculum courses.
Tags: General news

Post comment

Upcoming Events

March Seminar 2018 - Text List Crash Course

2018 will see the launch of our Vision 2020 series of professional development events. An outline of the program for 2018 is now available The theme for the March Seminar  is Text List Crash Course. You are invited to explore, with the guidance of experts, a selection of texts from the recently released text list. ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   8:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 17th March 2018
Venue:   St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School
Venue Address:   11 Ruthven Street, Corinda
Phone Enquiries:   0455 464 000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Townsville Breakfast Book Club

Grace Loyden is organising a series of Breakfast Book Clubs starting at 9:00 am on: Sunday 11 February - Burial Rites by Hannah Kent Sunday 21 April - The White Earth by Andrew McGahan Sunday 5 August - Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood Sunday 28 October - We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 21st April 2018
  Repeating On specific dates
Venue:   Jam Corner Restaurant


Quality Assessment Intensive

A full day program exploring Quality Assessment in the context of the new English syllabuses. The first session will consist of keynotes presented by Dr Jill Willis,and Dr Kelli McGraw, In the second session, Claire Stevens and Adam Da vey will present an interactive session while in session three, participants will and break out into a numbe...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 28th April 2018
Venue:   The Ship Inn, Southbank
Phone Enquiries:   0455 464 000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Masterclass - Unit 3

This event will allow participants to explore the syllabus and teaching strategies in detail for semester 3. Day one will deal with English and Literature, while day two will repeat the English sessions and also offer EALD and English Essentials. The Date Claimer gives further details of the program. Program will be available on 11 Ap...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 19th May 2018
Venue:   University of Queensland
Phone Enquiries:   0455 464 000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


AATE/ALEA CONFERENCE 2018

THE ART OF ENGLISH language  -  literature  -  literacy The AATE/ALEA English Literacy National Conference 2018 will be held in Perth from 8 July - 11 July 2018. Download the flyer here, or go to the website englishliteracyconference.com.au for all the latest information.   ...

Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Sunday 8th July 2018
Venue:   Perth


< Previous | 1 | 2 | Next >
View all

English Educator of the week

Rachael Christopherson
Brisbane Girls Grammar School

Number of years teaching:
25.  12 years at BGGS

Where else have you taught?
St Edmund's College, Ipswich (all boys)
Mt Alvernia College, Kedron (all girls)
Downlands College, Toowoomba (co-ed boarding with Ag Studies programme)

 

Read more

View all

Blog Feed

Editor of Words'Worth - Expression of interest

Oct 04 2017
Words'Worth is the journal of The Englis...

Grammar myths

Sep 12 2017
An edited version of the letter below was pu...
Read all

Testimonials

Read All

This is the first time I have been to an ETAQ conference and it was really sensational to get so much at all of the sessions.

ETAQ conferences always have sessions that make me excited to be a teacher.

I know that ETAQ conferences in the past have never disappointed - valuable, relevant, practical, inspiring so I came again.

Read All

Newsletter

Receive updates
from ETAQ

PO Box 3375, STAFFORD,
Queensland, Australia, 4053
(07) 3284 3718
ABN: 17 689 278 512

Connect to a great range of people who are passionate about English and have their finger on the pulse.

Be Connected