It's also given me the excuse to talk, once more, to one of my favourite literacy experts, the former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen. No surprise, he's not a fan of schemes. He told me;
The great problem with reading schemes is that they're dull. Writing for children is about conjuring up in one's mind a child and imagining what might interest, excite, intrigue, amaze, surprise that child. What is peculiar is that schools have become places where this whole effort has been supplanted by reading schemes and worksheets. This turns everyone - children, teachers and parents into anxiety-machines hovering over every letter, every word and every sentence hoping that the child reading it will cough out the right word. Small wonder that thousands of children find the whole exercise tedious and off-putting.
Certainly food for thought. Most schools use schemes and the debate, that was alive and well in the 80s (so I've been reliably informed) seems pretty much dead today.