Here is a good quote from Mike Lloyd’s book – ‘Phonics and the Resistance to Reading’
“Those who deploy the “phonics doesn’t work because our language in not phonetic” argument depend in part on concealing the fact that systematic synthetic phonics sets out to teach both the simple and complex code. These critics delight in producing lists of words that they claim can’t be decoded, when in fact they are easily decodable once children have been taught the complex code.
Once again, their argument backfires because in alleging that their lists of words cannot be decoded they draw attention to the very features of the complex code that systematic, synthetic phonics sets out to teach. For example, they point out that the same letter can represent more than one phoneme – for example the letter ‘o’ in the words ‘so’ and ‘not’. In producing examples like this these critics display their own knowledge of the complex code, but pretend that this knowledge is to be hidden from children.”