Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Jeffrey Bowers flawed thoughts on phonics

 He is a professor at the University of Bristol and researches language and memory.

There is a widespread consensus in the research community that reading instruction in English should first focus on teaching letter (grapheme) to sound (phoneme) correspondences.
That is, initial reading instruction should emphasize systematic phonics. In this systematic review, I show that this conclusion is not justified based on (a) an exhaustive review of 12 meta-analyses that have assessed the efficacy of systematic phonics and (b) summarizing the outcomes of teaching systematic phonics in all state schools in England since 2007.

On Twitter Jeffrey Bowers has tweeted the following:

The consistent misrepresentation of science in support of phonics is really quite extraordinary.  And when challenged (see:, almost complete silence.  Researchers just keep saying the same thing and ignore serious questions and challenges.
My comment now:

The first sentence above “first focus on teaching letter (grapheme) to sound (phoneme) correspondences”.

Do any of the educators understand exactly what that means? It means that sounds represented by letters should be taught correctly. 

When the phonemes are taught wrongly most children learn to read after wasting a lot of time figuring out the connections.

I have videos where teachers teach the wrong phonemes.

You may view 2 such videos in a post here.

I also have videos of University students in Australia who pronounce the phonemes wrongly and yet are able to read nonsense words listed in Dr. D.Kilpatricks book.

We need to ask how these kids are able to read despite being taught the wrong sounds represented by  letters.

You can listen to two examples of University students reading the sounds represented by letters wrongly in the videos in the following posts.

Here are the nonsense words they read in the videos below.

 Scrab, Snab, Drace, Blace, Thrack, Smail,Thake, Scrane,Sprash, Squath, Spleam


The above two students were taught by Aunty Lena at Learn with Lena.

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