WHAT’S NEW?

New Research Report
Focus on Phonics:
Why Australia should
adopt the Year 1
Phonics Screening Check
Focus on Phonics

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

theProblem-1
theProblem-2
theProblem-3a

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?

Children need explicit instruction in the five essential components
of reading in every classroom, every day.

This should begin in the foundation year of school, when most children turn five years old.

FIVE KEYS TO READING

Thousands of studies of the teaching of reading, and how children learn to read, have been published in scientific and academic journals. This extensive body of research shows that there are five essential skills for reading and that a high quality literacy program should include all five components.

 

Phonemic Awareness The ability to identify and manipulate the distinct individual sounds in spoken words
Phonics The ability to decode words using knowledge of letter-sound relationships
Fluency Reading with speed and accuracy
Vocabulary Knowing the meaning of a wide variety of words and the structure of written language
Comprehension Understanding the meaning and intent of the text

The links below provide information about the evidence-base for the five keys to reading, as well as useful documents and videos.

HOW TO TEACH READING

Major reviews of reading not only agree on the key components of reading programs – the five ‘keys’ to reading – but also the most effective way of teaching them. They find that explicit or ‘direct’ instruction is the most effective teaching method, especially for the fundamental code-based components ­― phonemic awareness and phonics.

According to Professor Keith Stanovich, “That direct instruction in alphabetic coding facilitates early reading acquisition is one of the most well established conclusions in all of behavioural science.”

Explicit instruction is a teaching model, rather than a specific teaching program. The links provide information about the evidence base for explicit instruction in general and for phonics in particular, as well as useful documents and videos.

WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS

The findings of this review argue strongly for the inclusion of a vigorous, programme of phonic work to be securely embedded within a broad and language-rich curriculum.

It is …crucial to teach phonic work systematically, regularly and explicitly, there is ample evidence to support the recommendation of the interim report that, for most children, it is highly worthwhile and appropriate to begin a systematic programme of phonic work by the age of five, if not before for some children, the way having been paved by related activities designed, for example, to build phonological awareness.

Independent Review of the Teaching of Early Reading, UK, 2006

That direct instruction in alphabetic coding facilitates early reading acquisition is one of the most well established conclusions in all of behavioural science.

Keith E. Stanovich, 2000
In sum, the incontrovertible finding from the extensive body of local and international evidence-based literacy research is that for children during the early years of schooling (and subsequently if needed), to be able to link their knowledge of spoken language to their knowledge of written language, they must first master the alphabetic code – the system of grapheme-phoneme correspondences that link written words to their pronunciations.

Because these are both foundational and essential skills for the development of competence in reading, writing and spelling, they must be taught explicitly, systematically, early and well.

Report of the National Inquiry into Teaching Literacy, Australia, 2005

There is strong, scientific evidence that the most effective way to teach these skills to all children is using reading instruction methods that are explicit, systematic, and sequential.
This is especially important for teaching phonics, which unlocks the alphabetic code.