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

Garry Collins, AATE PresidentAuthor: 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

Tony Hytch presents

Tony will present a session entitled  "Getting students assessment ready for Essential English" at Pimlico State High School, Townsville on Saturday 2nd May, 2020. Teachers will explore teh possible options for assessment in Units 1 and 2. In particular how to develop an assessment program which best prepares students for the t...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 2nd May 2020
Venue:   Pimlico High School
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


May Masterclass 2020: Diving Deep into Feedback

This event will offer participants an opportunity to streamline their skills in assessment for learning, moderation and quality feedback processes at a series of workshops for teachers of years 7 -12 to be presented by colleagues and academics. We are investigating the possibility of running this event online on 16 May. Further details wi...

Category:   Master class
Start Time:   8:30 AM
Date:   Saturday 16th May 2020
Venue:   To be confirmed


2020 AATE/IFTE 'IF' Conference

2020 AATE/IFTE 'IF' Conference

The 2020 AATE / IFTE 'IF' Conference will be held in Sydney from 6 - 9 July 2020. The conference website is https://aateifte2020.org.au/ Promotional video can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdDJCQONsUQ&feature=youtu.be ...

Category:   National Conference
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Monday 6th July 2020
Venue:   Sydney Grammar School


JCU Spectacular

"Double, double toil and trouble": Creative Writing and Macbeth Professional Development Workshops
Dr Emma Maguire and Dr Claire Hansen

In this double workshop PD session, join Dr Emma Maguire for a one-hour workshop on creative writing, and Dr Claire Hansen for a one-hour session on teaching Macbeth. Discover the essential e...

Category:   Workshop
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 25th July 2020
Venue:   James Cook University
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Pre-conference Institute 2020: Diving Deep with Jeff Wilhelm

This event has been cancelled

Category:   Pre-conference Institute
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Monday 10th August 2020
  Repeating On specific dates
Venue:   Ipswich Girls Grammar School and Nudgee College


< Previous | 1 | 2 | Next >
View all

Latest News

View all

Blog Feed

Grammar myths

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

Impact on learning

Sep 12 2017
The following letter was submitted to The Au...
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