Learning Difficulties Australia


 Literacy - reading

Key Research Papers: General
Key Research Papers: Simple View of Reading
Key Research Papers: Reading Fluency
Key Research Papers: Reading Comprehension
Programs and Resources: Phonic Check UK
Programs and Resources: Other Resources
Government Initiatives
Useful Links

Key Research Papers: General

Learning to read in Australia
The Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. Occasional Paper Number 1 2007. Authors: Max Coltheart and Margot Prior.
Introduction: Learning to read is not easy, and a substantial number of children struggle to do it. Children who read substantially less well than most children of their age may be referred to as exhibiting 'specific learning difficulties' or 'specific reading impairment' or 'developmental dyslexia' ('dyslexia' for short). These different terms are typically used interchangeably. Learning to write and spell is not easy, either, and some children lag behind their peers here, too. The distinction between difficulty in learning to read and difficulty in learning to write and spell is worth making because there are children who are normal readers for their age but poor spellers: these children are dysgraphic (poor at writing and spelling) while not being dyslexic (poor at reading). Children who have had difficulty in learning to read but have managed to catch up with their peers as far as reading is concerned often still exhibit poor writing and spelling.

Systematic Instruction in Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence for Students With Reading Disabilities
First Published December 8, 2016. Gentry A. Earle, MEd, Kristin L. Sayeski, PhD

Abstract: Letter-sound knowledge is a strong predictor of a student’s ability to decode words. Approximately 50% of English words can be decoded by following a sound-symbol correspondence rule alone and an additional 36% are spelled with only one error. Many students with reading disabilities or who struggle to learn to read have difficulty with phonology, an understanding of how sounds are organized within language. This can result in difficulty grasping the alphabetic principle, the knowledge of the relation between speech sounds and the letters/letter patterns that represent them. Research has demonstrated the benefits of intensive, explicit instruction for developing struggling readers’ capacity to identify phonemes and apply knowledge of phoneme-grapheme correspondence for decoding. In this article, common misconceptions and basic tenets of effective letter-sound instruction are provided to help special educators and reading interventionists plan for effective phoneme-grapheme correspondence instruction for students with reading disabilities or who are at risk for reading failure.

The Contributions of Phonological Awareness and Letter-Name Knowledge to Letter-Sound Acquisition—A Cross-Classified Multilevel Model Approach
Authors: Young-Suk Kim, Yaacov Petscher, Barbara R. Foorman and Chengfu Zhou
Journal of Educational Psychology Volume 102, Issue 2, May 2010, Pages 313-326
In the present study, we investigated critical factors in letter-sound acquisition (i.e. letter-name knowledge and phonological awareness) with data from 653 English-speaking kindergartners in the beginning of the year. We examined (a) the contribution of phonological awareness to facilitating letter-sound acquisition from letter names and (b) the probabilities of letter-sound acquisition as a function of letter characteristics (i.e., consonant–vowel letters, vowel–consonant letters, letters with no sound cues, and vowel letters). The results show that letter-name knowledge had a large impact on letter-sound acquisition. Phonological awareness had a larger effect on letter-sound knowledge when letter names were known than when letter names were unknown. Furthermore, students were more likely to know the sounds of consonant–vowel letters (e.g., b and d) than vowel–consonant letters (e.g., l and m) and letters with no sound cues (e.g., h and y) when the letter name was known and phonological awareness was accounted for. Sounds were least likely to be known for letters with no sound cues, but reliable differences from other groups of letters depended on students' levels of phonological awareness and letter-name knowledge.

A Seven Year Study of the Effects of Synthetic Phonics Teaching on Reading and Spelling Attainment
Authors: Rhona S Johnston and Joyce E Watson (Scotland)
We have carried out a study on around 300 children of the effectiveness of a synthetic phonics programme that was taught in Primary 1.Performance on this programme was compared with performance on atypical analytic phonics programme, and also with performance on a similar programme that included a substantial element of phonological awareness training. The synthetic phonics programme was by far the most effective in developing literacy skills.
In several publications the authors have charted the development of the children's literacy skills up to the end of Primary 5. This Insight report describes the progress the children have made from Primary 1 through to the end of Primary 7, focusing on comparing the attainment of boys with that of girls, and the extent to which children underachieve when taught by the synthetic phonics programme, and the impact that synthetic phonics teaching has on the literacy skills of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Letter Recognition: From Perception to Representation
A Special Issue of Cognitive Neuropsychology
Edited by Matthew Finkbeiner, Max Coltheart
Psychology Press
Publication Date: 23rd June 2009
ISBN: 978-1-84872-711-3
Detailed computational modeling of reading has been much pursued in the past twenty years, and several specific computational models of visual word recognition and reading aloud have been developed. These models offer computational accounts of many aspects of reading, but all have neglected the front end of the reading process, saying essentially nothing about how early visual processes operate during reading and little about how the nature of letter representations and how these are activated from print. This volume aims to begin to redress this neglect of the front end of the reading system.
The first three articles address issues of letter perception: i.e. how letter representations are activated from their visual features. The remaining four articles address the nature of the letter representations themselves, from functional, developmental and neural perspectives. These articles introduce novel and interesting ways to investigate the very earliest stages of the reading process. The research reported here will stimulate future investigations of this highly tractable, yet long overlooked, area of reading research. In particular, it should assist attempts to develop computational models of reading to make more realistic proposals about the actual computations involved in the activation of letter representations from print.

Reading Recovery 20 Years Down the Track: Looking forward, looking back
Authors: Meree Reynolds and Kevin Wheldall
International Journal of Disability, Development and Education
Vol. 54, No. 2, June 2007, pp. 199
Reading Recovery is an intensive literacy programme designed for young students who have been
identified as being at-risk of reading failure after 1 year of schooling. The intervention was developed and trialled in New Zealand over 20 years ago and is now implemented in a number of education systems. The focus of this article is on recent research into the operationalisation of the programme with an overview of what it has done well and what it has not done so well. Reading Recovery has been very successful in bringing about change on the political and teacher training levels. In terms of efficacy in remediating literacy difficulties, however, the findings are more equivocal. What we have learned from Reading Recovery may assist in the implementation of new interventions based on more contemporary research.

The Devil is in the Detail Regarding the Efficacy of Reading Recovery: A rejoinder to Schwartz, Hobsbaum, Briggs, and Scull
Authors: Meree Reynolds, Kevin Wheldall and Alison Madelaine
International Journal of Disability, Development and Education
Vol. 56, No. 1, March 2009, 17√35
This rejoinder provides comment on issues raised by Schwartz, Hobsbaum, Briggs and Scull (2009) in their article about evidence-based practice and Reading Recovery (RR), written in response to Reynolds and Wheldall (2007). Particular attention is paid to the processes and findings of the What Works Clearinghouse evaluation of RR. The suggestion that this evaluation is flawed casts doubt about some of its findings. The authors maintain their earlier stance that RR is effective for many students but do not accept that there is evidence that initial gains are sustained through the primary grades, that RR is an efficient tier two intervention in a response to intervention approach and that significant cost benefits have been demonstrated in education systems. It is concluded that research into alternative interventions that could be implemented at lower cost is warranted. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10349120802681580

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Key Research Papers: Simple View of Reading

Decoding, Reading, and Reading Disability
Authors: Philip B. Gough William E. Tunmer
Remedial and Special Education, Vol. 7, No. 1, 6-10 (1986)
DOI: 10.1177/074193258600700104
To clarify the role of decoding in reading and reading disability, a simple model of reading is proposed, which holds that reading equals the product of decoding and comprehension. It follows that there must be three types of reading disability, resulting from an inability to decode, an inability to comprehend, or both. It is argued that the first is dyslexia, the second hyperlexia, and the third common or garden variety, reading disability.

Overview for literacy leaders and managers - National Strategies, DCSF, UK
The new conceptual framework for teaching reading: the ' simple view of reading
The Rose Report made clear that there are two distinct but related processes involved in teaching children to read: learning to recognise words and developing language comprehension. Both are essential for learning to read and are contained in the Simple view of reading. This view replaces the Searchlights model. The paper supports practitioners' and teachers' understanding of the processes involved in ensuring children become secure in recognising words and develop comprehension skills.

Literacy as a complex activity: deconstructing the simple view of reading
Authors: Morag Stuart, Rhona Stainthorp and Maggie Snowling  
Department of Psychology and Human Development, Institute of Education
The Rose Review into the teaching of early reading recommended that the conceptual framework incorporated into the National Literacy Strategy Framework for Teaching ˆ the Searchlights model of reading and its development - should be replaced by the Simple View of Reading. In this paper, we demonstrate how these two frameworks relate to each other, and show that nothing has been lost in this transformation from Searchlights to Simple View: on the contrary, much has been gained. That nothing has been lost is demonstrated by consideration of the underlying complexity inherent in each of the two dimensions delineated in the Simple View. That much has been gained is demonstrated by the increased understanding of each dimension that follows from careful scientific investigation of each. The better we understand what is involved in each dimension, the better placed we are to unravel and understand the essential, complex and continual interactions between each dimension which underlie skilled reading. This has clear implications for further improving the early teaching of reading.

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Key Research Papers: Reading Fluency

Reading Fluency
Author: N. Mather and Sam Goldstein (2001)
Reading fluency encompasses the speed or rate of reading, as well as the ability to read materials with expression. Meyer and Felton defined fluency as "'the ability to read connected text rapidly, smoothly, effortlessly, and automatically with little conscious attention to the mechanics of reading, such as decoding" (1999, p. 284). Children are successful with decoding when the process used to identify words is fast and nearly effortless or automatic. As noted, the concept of automaticity refers to a student's ability to recognize words rapidly with little attention required to the word's appearance. The ability to read words by sight automatically is the key to skilled reading (Ehri, 1998).

Precision Teaching and Education: Is Fluency the Missing Link between Success and Failure?
Authors: Gallagher, Eamonn; Bones, Robert; Lambe, Jackie
Irish Educational Studies, v25 n1 p93-105 Mar 2006
The Department of Education in the United Kingdom established ambitious targets for achievement in the three core areas of English, maths and science measured by national curriculum testing. Annual results of the assessment for 2005 indicate that the government is some way off achieving these targets, currently 85%, for the academic years 2006-2008, but results indicate a steady improvement from the levels achieved in 1998. If these ambitious targets are to be realised, the consideration of new techniques in the classroom is suggested. Precision teaching has been advocated by a number of academics in the psychological and educational fields. Precision teaching is an effective instructional technology which adopts fluency (accuracy plus speed) as a benchmark of teaching success. This article highlights findings which suggest that fluency training assists higher academic achievement for all learners, and that cumulative dysfluency maybe the antecedent of academic underachievement.

The National Reading Panel Report: FLUENCY
Fluent readers can read text with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. Fluency depends upon well developed word recognition skills, but such skills do not inevitably lead to fluency. It is generally acknowledged that fluency is a critical component of skilled reading. Nevertheless, it is often neglected in classroom instruction. That neglect has started to give way as research and theory have reconceptualized this aspect of reading, and empirical studies have examined the efficacy of specific approaches to teaching fluency. Here the National Reading Panel (NRP) will provide a summary of the evidence supporting the effectiveness of various instructional approaches that are intended to foster this essential ingredient in successful reading development.

DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency and Retell Fluency
DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) is a standardized, individually administered test of accuracy and fluency with connected text. The DORF passages and procedures are based on the program of research and development of Curriculum-Based Measurement of Reading by Stan Deno and colleagues at the University of Minnesota and using the procedures described in Shinn (1989). A version of CBM reading also has been published as The Test of Reading Fluency (TORF) (Children's Educational Services, 1987). ORF is a standardized set of passages and administration procedures designed to (a) identify children who may need additional instructional support, and (b) monitor progress toward instructional goals. The passages are calibrated for the goal level of reading for each grade level. Student performance is measured by having students read a passage aloud for one minute. Words omitted, substituted, and hesitations of more than three seconds are scored as errors. Words self-corrected within three seconds are scored as accurate. The number of correct words per minute from the passage is the oral reading fluency score. DIBELS ORF includes both benchmark passages to be used as screening assessments across the school year as well as 20 alternate forms for monitoring progress.
Retell Fluency (RTF) is intended to provide a comprehension check for the ORF assessment. In general, oral reading fluency provides one of the best measures of reading competence, including comprehension, for children in first through third grades. The purpose of the RTF measure is to (a) prevent inadvertently learning or practicing a misrule, (b) identify children whose comprehension is not consistent with their fluency, (c) provide an explicit linkage to the core components in the NRP report, and (d) increase the face validity of the ORF.

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Key Research Papers: Reading Comprehension

The Effects of Goal Setting and Self-Instruction on Learning a Reading Comprehension Strategy – A Study of Students with Learning Disabilities
Authors: LeeAnn Johnson, Steve Graham, Karen R. Harris
Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol. 30 , No. 1, 80-91 (1997) DOI: 10.1177/002221949703000107
This study examined the contributions of instruction in goal setting and self-instruction, separately and combined, on the acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of a reading comprehension strategy by fourth-through sixth-grade students with learning disabilities. A previously validated strategy involving the use of story structure to analyze and remember story content was taught to 47 students with learning disabilities using the self-regulated strategy development (SRSD) model. Comparisons were made among students with learning disabilities in four conditions (strategy instruction, strategy instruction plus goal setting, strategy instruction plus self-instruction, and strategy instruction plus goal setting and self-instruction). Results indicated that instruction in the reading strategy produced meaningful, lasting, and generalizable effects on students' story comprehension skills. Furthermore, the comprehension performance of the students with learning disabilities after strategy instruction was indistinguishable from that of a social comparison group of normally achieving students. Explicit instruction in goal setting and self-instruction, however, did not augment the comprehension performance of students with learning disabilities.

The Usefulness of Brief Instruction in Reading Comprehension Strategies
Author: Daniel T. Willingham
American Educator (American Federation of Teachers), Winter 2006-07
Results from 481 studies on 16 different categories of strategies conclude that; "Teaching children strategies is definitely a good idea."
"The evidence is best for strategies that have been most thoroughly studied; the evidence for the less-studied strategies is inconclusive (not negative) and, therefore, there is not evidence that one strategy is superior to another."
"Strategies are learned quickly, and continued instruction and practice does not yield further benefits."
"Strategy instruction is unlikely to help students before they are in the third or fourth grade."

Reading Comprehension Requires Knowledge - of Words and the World
Scientific Insights into the Fourth-Grade Slump and the Nation – Stagnant Comprehension Scores
Author: E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
While educators have made good progress in teaching children to decode (that is, turn print into speech sounds), it is disheartening that we still have not overcome the fourth-grade slump in reading comprehension. We are finding that even though the vast majority of our youngest readers can manage simple texts, many students - particularly those from low-income families - struggle when it comes time in grade four to tackle more advanced academic texts.

Critical Thinking - Why Is It So Hard to Teach?
Author: Daniel T. Willingham - professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Virginia and author of
Cognition: The Thinking Animal as well as over 50 articles. With Barbara Spellman, he edited Current
American Educator, Summer 2007
Directions in Cognitive Science His research focuses on the role of consciousness in learning.
Critical thinking is not a set of skills that can be deployed at any time, in any context. It is a type of thought that even 3-year-olds can engage in - and even trained scientists can fail in.

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Programs and Resources

Phonics Check

For the latest updates on an Australian Phonics Check see here.

Year 1 phonics screening check FAQs
The Year 1 phonics screening check is a short, light-touch assessment to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.

UK Process evaluation of the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check Pilot
Reference:DFE-RB159Published:September 2011
In the 2010 White Paper The Importance of Teaching the DfE signalled its intent to introduce a Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1 (to five and six year old pupils). The Phonics Screening Check is designed to be a light touch, summative assessment of phonics ability. It includes a list of 40 words - half real, half pseudo - which each pupil reads one-to-one with a teacher. By introducing the Check the Government hopes to identify pupils with below expected progress in phonic decoding. These pupils will receive additional intervention and then retake the Check to assess the extent to which their phonics ability has improved, relative to the expected level.
The aim of the Pilot was to assess how pupils and teachers responded to different versions of the Check and its administration. The DfE recruited 300 schools to take part in the Pilot. All 300 schools administered the Check with Year 1 pupils during, or shortly after, the week of 13th June 2011. Across the 300 schools, the Pilot trialled a total of 360 words (each read by around 1,000 pupils).

UK Year One Phonics Screening Check – Pilot 2011 Technical Report
This document provides a technical evaluation of the Year 1 phonics screening check, including information relating to Ofqual’s common assessment criteria of validity, reliability, minimising bias, comparability and manageability as set out in its Regulatory Framework for National Assessment arrangements (Ofqual, 2011).
This document is primarily aimed at a technical audience, but contains information that will be of interest to all stakeholders involved in the Year 1 phonics screening check, including schools.

Phonics reading check and Key Stage 1 results published
27 September 2012
National, regional and local authority results for the Year 1 phonics reading check and Key Stage 1 results are published today.
The results for the phonics reading check show that 58 per cent of six-year-olds reached the expected standard (32 out of 40). Thanks to the check, teachers have identified over 235,000 pupils who will now receive additional reading support from the school.

Other resources

Jolly Phonics
Jolly Phonics is a thorough foundation for reading and writing. It teaches the letter sounds in an enjoyable, multisensory way, and enables children to use them to read and write words.

Sounds-Write is a quality first phonics programme and is acknowledged by the DfE as meeting all its criteria for an effective phonics teaching programme - see our entry on the DfE site for details. It is an exciting and highly successful approach to the teaching of reading, spelling and writing. Our very highly-rated, intensive courses have now been attended by over eight thousand classroom practitioners, educational psychologists and members of local authority support teams. The programme is already being used extensively in primary and secondary schools throughout Britain, Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic, Australia, Zambia and Papua New Guinea.

Little Learners Love Literacy
This is a program developed by Maureen Pollard to teach children to read, write and spell with confidence. The Little Learners Love Literacy literacy resources are based around the story of Milo the monkey's surprise birthday party as a way of engaging children to connect sounds and letters. The program is phonic based and the Teacher Resource book sets out session plans in a step-by-step way to ensure that the teaching is explicit. The multi-sensory approach includes music, art and craft activities, simple cooking and handwriting. Every session has a number of phonemic awareness activities to ensure that children have the necessary skills to use their phonic knowledge. Three word games called 'Read and Grab' are a motivating way for children to practise reading CVC and CCVC words. Twenty Little Learner books take children on the journey of reading; these books have simple stories and decodable text. A small group of high frequency words are gradually introduced. These are known as Heart Words; children need to 'learn them by heart'. Visit Little Learners Love Literacy at:

Profs' Phonics 2
Profs' Phonics has been developed by Professors Ruth Fielding-Barnsley and Ian Hay as a result of their research into how children learn to read.
Profs. Phonics 2 invites 3 to 7 year old children to explore detailed paintings for words that start or end with a particular sound. Children will come to understand that words contain the same sounds that are represented by letters of the alphabet. This is known as 'cracking the alphabetic code' and is essential for children to be able to understand the reading process.
- Learning about the individual sounds in words (phonemic awareness).
- Learning through detailed observation, animation, sound and touch.
- Visual and auditory feedback of identified words, allowing for recognition of words.
- Contrasting incorrect words to discriminate between learned sounds (s,t,l,p,m,n,a,e,i).
- Based on the findings of The Independent Rose Review of the Teaching of Early Reading in the UK (https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationDetail/Page1/DFES-0201-2006).
- Feedback on the number of correct words that your child has found in each poster.
- The ability to teach your child their first words made up of the learned sounds.
- Extends your child's vocabulary with the inclusion of 330 words.
- Ideal as story and conversation starters.
For a free sample containing 5 of the Profs' Phonics paintings, download Profs' Phonics 1, also by Doc Ruth.

TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ IN 100 EASY LESSONS - research based reading program with a firm phonics foundation for use by parents, grandparents, home-schoolers. This program is a modification and extension of DISTAR (Direct Instruction System for Teaching, Achievement and Remediation). The Direct Instruction approach was proven by a United States Office of Education commissioned evaluation to have the most successful beginning reading program when compared to all other approaches used in schools.
This website also has many helpful links to information such as research about Direct Instruction and Project Follow Through.

Reading Mastery Signature Edition
This resource is strategy-based instruction that allows students to learn more efficiently. Intensive, explicit, systematic teaching helps students achieve a high rate of success. Carefully scaffolded lessons build confidence and independence. Ongoing assessments and specific guidelines for remediation help you make effective instructional decisions, addresses all five essential components of Reading: phonemic awareness, phonics and word analysis, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension and provides spelling instruction to help students make the connection between decoding and spelling patterns. Develop decoding, word recognition and comprehension skills that transfer to other subject areas.

Spalding Education International
The Writing Road to Reading, the text for The Spalding Method, is used with great success in the United States, Canada, Australia, Central America, Europe, Singapore and Taiwan. It is a favorite of home educators and other parents because Spalding-taught children become competent and enthusiastic readers, spellers and writers.

Phonics Alive
The Australian made Phonics Alive family is a unique concept in structured Phonics education designed for use in the classroom and at home to develop phonemic awareness, spelling, grammar and typing skills. Phonics Alive introduces all letter shapes and sounds. It can be used with children at a very early age, through to older children with learning difficulties or those for whom English
is a second language.

The Reading Genie
LESSONS: These links take you to research-based instruction in learning to read.
Overview of how children learn to read words
How to help children tune into the sounds in words
How to teach phoneme awareness
How to teach blending
How to teach a letterbox lesson
How to assess decoding and phoneme awareness
How to teach spelling as wordmapping
How to help with oral reading
How to develop reading fluency
Using decodable text
How to count phonemes in spoken words
How to teach letter recognition

Phonics 4 Free
Mrs Mona McNee, B.A., T.D., P.C.T., M.B.E.
Everyone needs to be able to read. My phonics programme, from letters to sounds, is aimed at all, any age 4 to adult, dyslexic or not. My Down’s syndrome son learned from this kind of phonics. It needs no training, just common sense and a willingness to walk away from today’s received wisdom. Teachers and pupils should be spared “a range of other strategies”.Users can enjoy the teaching and the success it brings. It has always been priced at rock-bottom to reach every pocket and thanks to this website is now available for free. Of the world’s many troubles today, we can at least end illiteracy for the English-speaking world! Enjoy!

Intensive instructional support for primary or secondary students with reading difficulties.
Corrective Reading provides intensive, sustained direct instruction to address deficiencies in decoding and comprehension.
Designed to provide differentiated personalised instruction to each learner.
A complete core programme that uses:
Two major strands and four instructional levels address a wide range of reading problems.
The Decoding and Comprehension strands can be used separately as a supplemental reading intervention or combined for use as a comprehensive reading intervention programme.
Multiple points of entry and fast-cycle options appropriately address skill levels of students in Grades 4-Adult.
Fully integrated assessments monitor progress and guide movement through the programme.
Choose the Decoding strand for students who do not read accurately or whose oral reading is choppy, as well as for less fluent readers who lack comprehension when they read.
Select the Comprehension strand for students who need to develop vocabulary, background information, and reasoning skills that are the foundation of comprehension.

Scholastic - Teaching and Assessing Reading Skills
Extensive website with much information and resources on topics such as Alphabet Recognition, Early Reading, Literature, Phonemic Awareness, Phonics , Assessment, Comprehension, Fluency and Intervention, Spelling and Vocabulary for grades 6-8 and 9-12.

Ending the Reading Wars: Reading Acquisition From Novice to Expert

Continuing public interest questioning how children learn to read and a review of reading science research, and a look at how the research makes its way into classrooms is the topic of the recently published and acclaimed article written by former LDA President Anne Castles, Kathleen Rastle and Kate Nation.

Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science, 2020
What Expert Teachers of Reading Should Know and Be Able To Do
Author: Louisa Moats
In this report, Louisa C. Moats calls for teacher preparation and professional development to be more rigorous and better aligned with decades of reading science. She describes the knowledge that undergirds successful instruction and concludes with recommendations for the professional preparation of all teachers of reading. It is our nation’s dedicated teachers and their excellent teaching that will bring the rocket science that is research-based reading instruction to classrooms across the country and will unlock the power and joy of reading for our children.

National Reading Panel
Phonics Instruction
Types of phonics instructional methods and approaches
* Analogy phonics
* Analytic phonics
* Embedded phonics
* Phonics through spelling
* Synthetic phonics

Big Ideas in Beginning Reading, University of Oregon (USA)
The University of Oregon is highly respected among education reformers for the quality of its research into how children learn, leading to support for its direct, intensive and systematic methods of instruction. This website on reading is a rich yet clear source of information on methods of reading instruction. They say, "This website is designed to provide information, technology, and resources to teachers, administrators, and parents across the country".

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Government Initiatives

Validation of systematic synthetic phonics programmes - UK Department of Education

Reading Reform Foundation - Oct 2011 Conference - Initial Teacher Training: How can student teachers be best prepared to teach reading?
Key Note speaker Nick Gibb, MP - Speech on synthetic phonics

A Summary of UK Government Initiatives on the teaching of reading from 1988 to 2007
Jennifer Chew for the UK Reading Reform Foundation.

Beginning Reading: Influence on Policy in the United States and England 1998 - 2010
Author: Beth Robins
The study investigated the divergence in beginning reading methods between the United States (US) and England from 1998 to 2010. Researchers, policy makers, and publishers were interviewed to explore their knowledge and perceptions concerning how literacy policy was determined. The first three of twelve findings showed that despite the challenges inherent in the political sphere, both governments were driven by low literacy rates to seek greater involvement in literacy education. The intervention was determined by its structure: a central parliamentary
system in England, and a federal system of state rights in the US.

A Synthesis of Research on Reading from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Bonita Grossen University of Oregon November , 1997
The National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) educational research program, initiated in 1965, began to focus more on reading difficulties as it became clear how extensive the reading problem was in the general population. The 1985 Health Research Extension Act resulted in a new charge to the NICHD to improve the quality of reading research by conducting long-term, prospective, longitudinal, and multidisciplinary research. Reid Lyon led the new charge by closely coordinating the work of over 100 researchers in medicine, psychology, and education in approximately 14 different research centers. (Numbers vary from year to year.)

NRP, National Reading Panel (USA)
In 1997, Congress asked the Director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, to convene a national panel to assess the effectiveness of different approaches used to teach children to read. For over two years, the NRP reviewed research-based knowledge on reading instruction and held open panel meetings in Washington, DC, and regional meetings across the United States. On April 13, 2000, the NRP concluded its work and submitted "The Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching Children to Read". 

On 30 November 2004 the then Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Dr Brendan Nelson MP, announced details about the Australian Government National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy. The Inquiry was a broad, independent examination of reading research, teacher preparation and practices for the teaching of literacy, particularly reading.

Rose Review (UK)
Independent review of the teaching of early reading chaired by Jim Rose
In 2006 Sir Jim Rose completed his independent review of the teaching of early reading. The review report provided clear recommendations on what constitutes 'high quality phonics work'. These recommendations were also summarised in the Core Position Paper 'Phonics and early reading: an overview for head teachers, literacy leaders and teachers in schools, and managers and practitioners in Early Years settings'. All principles underpinning these recommendations have been incorporated into the revised Primary Framework for literacy and the new Early Years Foundation Stage.

Ofqual reports on National Assessment Arrangements
November 21st, 2012, filed under Press releases.
Ofqual today (Weds) publishes its report on the National Assessment arrangements for 2011/12.

One of Ofqual’s roles is to keep under review all aspects of National Assessment arrangements – the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile and statutory assessment at the end of Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 of the National Curriculum.
Key Stage 1 (including Phonics Screening Check)
•    DfE should carefully evaluate all available evidence of the link between attainment in the Phonics Screening Check and future reading performance
•    Steps should be taken to strengthen further the instructions to schools to refrain from public discussion of the content of the Phonics Screening Check until the end of the administration period
•    Evidence from 2012 suggests that the Check does identify those pupils most in need of additional support. But prior knowledge of the threshold score appears to have influenced marking. Guidance should therefore place emphasis on how pupils’ performance can be used alongside other information to put in place appropriate support, and outcomes used cautiously by schools and Ofsted inspectors.
•    STA to take specific action to strengthen Key Stage 1 moderation

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Useful Links

Children of the Code
The Children of the Code Project is a ‘case in point’ for how poorly our society understands learning and the personal and societal costs of unhealthy learning. Consisting of over 100 interviews with field leading scientists and scholars the COTC project has produced over 140 video segments that cover subjects ranging from the origin of writing to the neurology involved in producing the virtual language experience we call reading.

A testimonial for Children of the Code says it all: "This is probably the most interesting, educational, insightful, researched, helpful, meaningful information I've received since becoming a teacher." - J. Stillman, Budlong Elementary, L.A. California
The Children of the Code project has five major components:
A Television, DVD and Web documentary series;
A college, university, and professional development DVD series;
A cross-indexed website/database containing videos and transcripts of our interviews with the world's leading experts in fields related to reading;
A variety of professional development events for educators;
A series of presentations for parents, policy makers, and the general public.
All of Children of the Code online resources are free. Public schools and non-profit organizations can freely embed our content in their own courses and websites.

MultiLit Programs: PreLit, InitiaLit, MiniLit, MacqLit, Reading Tutor Program
MultiLit products reflect a contemporary approach to best practice literacy instruction as identified by international reading scientists. Providing programs and resources to assist begining and older low-progress readers.

  • PreLit is a skills-based, early literacy preparation program for preschool children in the year before school. It is designed to complement a play-based learning environment and provides children with a sound foundation for learning to read.
  • InitiaLit is a whole class literacy program for Foundation to Year 2.
  • MiniLit is an evidence-based effective early literacy program for struggling young readers (bottom 25% of students). 
  • Reinforced Reading Program. One of the single most important things we can do to help low-progress readers is to hear them read every day, for a little as 15-20 minutes, using a set of tutoring strategies known as Reinforced Reading (Pause, Prompt and Praise).

Scholastic - Teaching and Assessing Reading Skills
Extensive website with much information and resources on topics such as Alphabet Recognition, Early Reading, Literature, Phonemic Awareness, Phonics , Assessment, Comprehension, Fluency and Intervention, Spelling and Vocabulary for grades 6-8 and 9-12.

Debbie Hepplewhite (UK) This site is designed to provide teaching materials, resources and synthetic phonics training information (on this site and via links) and for sharing ideas, good practice and advice through the message board forum - based on the teaching principles of Synthetic Phonics and Linguistic Phonics. Although a professional trainer and consultant, Debbie will give free advice and guidance to parents and teachers.

Reading Reform Foundation UK

Reading Reform Foundation  
Youtube clips of the Reform Reading Reform Foundation London Conference 2011.  http://rrf.org.uk/conferences.html  

Jim Curran's introduction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vvr7EgWaZ84&feature=related
Jim Curran_Interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-a6nDTt4_M&feature=related

Key Note speaker: Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for Schools: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fi7qni6hliA&feature=related

Sue Lloydhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O37g3py8Hc0 

Elizabeth Nonweiler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CutEYFF91qo

Jennifer Chew, contributor to 'Letters and Sounds': The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check: What will it be like? How can we make sure our children succeed?

Coral George interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P3n1UQRE5k

Marj Newbury Reception Class Teacher: Lecture Theatre? Classroom? Where should student teachers learn to teach early reading skills? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9pvkUjf6VE

Louise Gittins and Olubusola Eshiet: Training and Inspiring Teachers in the Niger Delta: a model for embedding synthetic phonics in government primary schools
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAJp_USA5wg
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV_VYryIWog

Diane McGuinness: What is the English alphabet code and why is it so hard to teach?
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkeLL49lLw4
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnbweqBSjpA

Fiona Nevola: Catch Up in the Primary School: How to make sure no child begins secondary school unable to read.
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZOeR37H9zw
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8M6WiipNJk
Here's Fiona's handout with Ebed's work:

Reading Reform Foundation
•    Alphabetic Code Chart
•    Burt Reading Test
•    Schonell Spelling test
•    Simple Code Phonics Assessment.
•    Ruth Miskin’s Nonsense Words Test

The National Right to Read Foundation
•    FREE to Download:
•    Blend Phonics
•    Phonics Primer
•    Reading Competency Test
•    Power Point Presentations

From preschool, to public and charter schools, to homeschool and adult education, 3RsPlus has rigorously researched programs to enable you to reliably teach students to READ and SPELL. The programs are easy to implement, and they provide immediately transparent results. They are successful with individuals with learning disabilities, dyslexia, attention deficit disorders, and other issues.

Just Read Florida
In an elementary classroom, a minimum of 90 minutes of reading instruction - grounded in the principles of scientifically based reading research (SBRR) - is the most effective way to reach all students. Please click to find an explanation on research behind the 90 minute block, a one page example of how to implement, and answers to the most frequently asked questions about the 90 minute reading block.
Though originally designed for delivery to reading coaches, this presentation may be helpful to all elementary educators implementing a reading block.
Whether reading mentors or classroom teachers, this curriculum is a great guide that includes an overview of current reading research and weekly lessons for intermediate struggling readers. Lessons and accompanying mentoring notes designed to provide reading tutoring as a primary activity during mentoring sessions with 3rd grade students at different reading levels.

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