THE thinking that underpins the new national English curriculum cuts through years of nonsense and puts the teaching of English back on a rational and compassionate basis.
For 40 years we have cruelly turned aside from the needs of children wanting to master our complex, subtle and wonderful language and refused to teach them the skills to understand how English works. Without this understanding, their use of English is condemned to remain far below their potential.
It is as if we taught mathematics without the tools of addition and subtraction, without times tables* and an explanation of fractions, but still expected to get good mathematical thinking, analysis and problem-solving from our young people.
The tool of phonics allows the child to understand that a squiggle on a page stands for a sound that relates to the way he or she has learned to hear and speak words.
Letters on the subject in The Weekend Australian today.
*Just quietly, the times table was not drilled into my head in primary school when I was there and I think that's part of the reason that my mathematics skills are almost nonexistent.
Pix from Wand in comments. Maybe their pressure cleaner is really strong? It's cleaned off the 's. (I've done the apostrophisation, too. When I've been in a hurry.)