Education Secretary Ruth Kelly's plans to adopt a "back to basics" method of teaching reading risk condemning children to a world of boring stories, an expert warned yesterday.
Dr Jonathan Solity, of Warwick University, also criticised the Govern-ment's proposal for one-toone catch-up lessons for pupils who struggle with reading.
He said proposals to go back to a method of teaching literacy known as phonics could signal a return to the bad old days of the 1960s.
During this period, children were taught to read phonics through a restricted vocabulary and largely unimaginative stories, he argued.
Last month, Ms Kelly announced the end of the mixture of methods for teaching reading which have been central to the Government's national literacy strategy for the past seven years.
She backed recommendations from a Government commissioned review to focus teaching on a system known as synthetic phonics, which involves blending letter sounds to form whole words.
Dr Solity told the Division of Educational and Child Psychology Annual Conference in Bourne-mouth that struggling readers in our schools were required to learn too many phonics skills.
As a result, they never move off the reading schemes, he said, and reading remains a chore.
Dr Solity has previously argued that children learn too many words and should focus on the 100 key words which would allow them to understand most books.
Other research he is due to present to the conference today includes evidence of how maths teaching can be improved along the same lines.
Under Dr Solity's programme, children struggling with maths were taught in whole classes, with better results than those achieved by methods set out in the national numeracy strategy.