Phonics in context is not enough: Synthetic phonics & learning to read
Tuesday 31st July 2018
Click here to watch the debate
Opening remarks: The Hon Rob Stokes MP
Moderator: Natasha Robinson, ABC National Education Correspondent
Speakers for the proposition:
1. Distinguished Professor Anne Castles, Macquarie University
2. Dr Jennifer Buckingham, The Centre for Independent Studies
3. Mr Troy Verey, Marsden Road Public School
Speakers against the proposition:
1. Professor Robyn Ewing, University of Sydney
2. Dr Kathy Rushton, University of Sydney
3. Mark Diamond, Principal, Lansvale Public School
NEW! What exactly is systematic synthetic phonics?
NEW! Systematic Synthetic Phonics Research Brief
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
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.
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.
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.
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.