Durham University School of Education
The ‘Simple View of Reading’ (SVR), attributed to Gough and Tunmer (1986)’ says that reading comprehension is the product of ‘Decoding’ and ‘Listening Comprehension’. Yet these two elements are neither conceptually nor practically separable in the way that SVR seems to assume. Moreover, both ‘Decoding’ and ‘Listening Comprehension’ themselves resist straightforward characterisation.
My non-empirical critique of SVR employs analytical strategies. The complex interactive relations between decoding and accessing meaning challenge SVR. Words are abstract, in the realm of meaning and only attain full existence in context. We cannot blend and then segment words, but only sounds. Reading in its various senses transcends decoding; grasping meaning without decoding need not be mere ‘guessing’.
This talk draws on my monograph ‘A Critique of Pure Teaching Methods and the Case of Synthetic Phonics’, published in November 2017 and ‘To Read or not to Read: Decoding Synthetic Phonics’ IMPACT 20 PESGB December 2013.