News from NSW, Australia (August, 2014)
The Daily Telegraph, 10 August 2014
• This is particularly good news for those students who are biscriptal learners of English.
News from Gambia (August, 2015)
The Global Partnership for Education
In 2009, more than half of all Gambian students in Grade 2 could not
read. Reading instruction, which took place in
English, focused on recognizing entire words—not on connecting sounds
and letters. This made it difficult for children to retain what they had
learned in class.
In 2011, the Gambian government, with the support of the Global
Partnership for Education, launched a national pilot program “Early
learning in national languages”. Children learned reading in one of the 5
national languages. These have a more consistent relationship between
sounds and letters than English does, and of course, they are the
languages in which the children think. This makes it easier for the
children to learn.
They were taught letters one by one along with
systematic combinations to blend into words. When the pilot was
evaluated in 2012 the initial results were striking.
Gambian children in Grade 1 who were part of the pilot did ten times
better than children who were not part of the pilot in recognizing
letter sounds and reading simple words. Even better, many children in
the pilot were able to transfer their new skills to reading English
Ghana to halt English-medium instruction (October, 2015)
If English is first introduced as a 'subject' in middle primary school, it could possibly then grow in prestige, e.g. as a compulsory subject. The important thing is to make the ideas and the practices of 'schooling' immediately understandable to youngsters. If they are rendered mute at the doorway by having to deal with English, then this sends the unnecessary message that their own language/culture and very sense of self is, somehow, not good enough.
Ending the "Reading Wars" (March 2016)
This page has an article that cites "Read About It: Scientific Evidence for Effective Teaching of Reading" (2016), an important report by Kerry Hempenstall - who was one of my doctoral examiners: