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Durham University

Research & business

Research lectures, seminars and events

The events listed in this area are research seminars, workshops and lectures hosted by Durham University departments and research institutes. If you are not a member of the University, but  wish to enquire about attending one of the events please contact the organiser or host department.


Research Seminar: Is the so-called 'Simple View of Reading' (SVR) too simple?

25th April 2018, 13:00 to 14:00, ED 134, Dr Andrew Davis, Honorary Research Fellow, 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’ 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.

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