Letter: The phonics success

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Sir: "Synthetic phonics" are not new or mysterious - they are not even Scottish. Thirty years ago, Kathleen Hickey was training teachers for the Dyslexia Institute, and showing them some simple techniques - arrange the alphabet letters in an arc, teach the first few sounds (i, t, p, n, s) then ask the child to make words from these letters.

Sound-letter links of increasing complexity were accumulated and rehearsed. Meanwhile, the skills learned by synthesis were being use in writing, and eased into reading real books.

Kathleen Hickey trained dozens of teachers; they have gone on to train hundreds of others. "Synthetic phonics" are part of every Dyslexia Institute lesson, and commonplace in thousands of literacy hours.