This groundbreaking, 7-year research trial and subsequent report was instrumental in shaping government advice on the use of systematic phonics as the foundation for teaching children to read at primary school.
The Clackmannanshire Report follows a seven year longitudinal study by The Scottish Executive into the effectiveness of a synthetic phonics programme in teaching reading and spelling. So groundbreaking was this research, that Pearson worked with the authors of the report, Rhona Johnston and Joyce Watson, to develop the synthetic phonics programme Phonics Bug.
The study involved dividing around 300 Primary aged children into three groups. One group was taught via the synthetic phonics method, one by a standard analytic phonics programme, and the third by an analytics phonics programme which included systematic phonemic awareness teaching without reference to print.
The outcomes of the study proved overwhelmingly that the synthetic phonics approach is more effective than the analytic phonics approach. Evidence shows that synthetic phonics is best taught at the beginning of Key Stage 1, as even by the end of Year 2 the children had better ability. At the end of the programme, the synthetic phonics-taught group were reading and spelling seven months ahead of their expected level. It has also proven to help close the gender gap with boys’ word reading accelerating, and sometimes measuring ahead of girls.
Teachers and head teachers have responded positively to synthetic phonics teaching, having found that their pupils' reading and spelling skills are much improved and that those underachieving can be identified earlier.
Read the full report