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Calls for Phonics to Eradicate Dyslexia 2009-01-15

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Intolerance.
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[Picture of Graham Stringer MP]Mr. Graham Stringer, ‘New Labour‘ MP for ‘Manchester Blackley’, has claimed ‘dyslexia’ is a myth to cover up bad teaching of reading and writing. He also suggested there was a link between illiteracy and crime; prisons are full of people unable to read and write.

He described the condition as a ‘cruel fiction’ and suggested the dyslexia ‘industry’ should be ‘killed off’ through the ‘magic bullet’ of teaching children to read and write by using a phonetic system of sounding letters and words.

He made the comments while writing a column for ‘Manchester Confidential‘, an entertainment and review website about the city. Mr Stringer said he has visited Strangeways jail in his constituency and of the prison population, roughly 80per cent of inmates are functionally illiterate and a similar number are drug abusers.

‘I don’t believe in panaceas, but I am confident that if the rate of literacy were improved there would be an inevitable decline in crime.

‘Children who cannot read or write find secondary school a humiliating and frustrating experience. Their rational response, with dire consequences, is to play truant.

‘Drugs, burglaries, robberies — and worse –  then, often, follow.’

Ms.Shirley Cramer, chief executive officer of the educational charity ‘Dyslexia Action‘, said:

‘Once again dyslexia seems to be making the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

‘It is frustrating that the focus should be on whether dyslexia exists or not, when there is so much evidence to support that it does. It is true that there is a strong link between literacy and unemployment, and we know from our own research that there is a higher percentage of offenders amongst the prison and probation populations who are dyslexic or have literacy difficulties.

‘However, these individuals are no more likely to commit a crime and the associated links are the result of reduced opportunity due to poor educational attainment.’

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