Jeff McQuillan

Since 2012 schools in England have been required to use “synthetic phonics” (Wyse & Goswani, 2008) to teach children to read. Economists Machin, McNally, & Viarengo (2016) analyzed data from a large sample of English schoolchildren to assess the effectiveness of a phonics pilot program and early implementation of this phonics mandate. McQuillan argues that the researchers’ results show that, while phonics instruction ‘has a modest effect on initial literacy levels,’ there is ‘little to no impact on reading achievement in later grades’.