Fine motor play builds strength and endurance in muscle memory needed for literacy tasks like putting pencil to paper.
For learners in the early stages of reading, the best way to counteract the loss of literacy skills over the summer is not by forcing study but by boosting play that develops fine motor skills.
Children who love reading generally score higher on literacy tests than those who are ambivalent about it.
It would be wiser to spend money on policies that allow teachers to teach in ways that nurture children’s sense of belonging and making sure children are not hungry when they are trying to learn.
Two adversarial approaches have dominated debates about teaching reading for decades.
Reading involves more than decoding letter-sound relationships and making meaning from isolated texts.
It makes sense for children in the early stages of learning to read to be given decodable books.
Children in the early stages of learning to read should be given decodable books to practise and generalise their developing alphabetic skills.
Children with access to books reach higher levels of education.
The Victorian opposition has pledged funding for "decodable readers" which focus only on sounds. But kids prefer to read rich texts.
Feedback from teachers and school leaders was overwhelmingly positive, and students said they enjoyed the one-to-one time with teachers.
Results from a recent trial of England's phonics check in South Australia show teachers liked it and students need it.
Despite improvements in the national average score, the 2016 PIRLS report confirms many Australian children continue to be left behind.
The results of an international study into reading skills offer reason for optimism for Australian students. But tragically, too many children are still being left behind.
Research in England has found that the proposed test was no more accurate than the teacher’s judgement in identifying children with reading difficulties.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham is right to be concerned about the number of children struggling with literacy - but this test is not the solution.
Children need to learn how to sound out words they haven’t seen before.
Many young children can give the false impression that they are learning to read, when in fact they are mostly guessing words from pictures or context. This test will help to identify these students.
Phonics helps teach children how to merge separate sounds together to make it one word.
Phonics instruction gives children letter-sound knowledge, a skill that is essential for them to read unfamiliar words by themselves.
A phonics check could improve Australian literacy standards.
A focus on phonics may be the cure to Australia's literacy woes.
A new phonics test won’t help us understand what the problems are. We need solutions.
Being able to sound out letters in words doesn’t mean you can understand them. There is no clear evidence that a new phonics screening test for children in Year 1 will help improve reading levels.
Phonics programs are not helpful for all learners.
Phonics programs can be helpful for students with very particular learning needs - but it's not a one-size-fits-all literacy solution. Here are some things you should be wary of.
Pressuring kids to memorise obscure, low frequency words does not promote good learning.
Channel Ten's newly announced show, The Great Australian Spelling Bee, may seem like a great platform for promoting literacy skills. But it is promoting the memorisation of pointless, low-frequency words rather than anything helpful.
The small amount of research that has been undertaken on Reading Recovery does show a positive effect. But all teacher interventions show some positive effect, and it’s not enough to justify continued use of the program.
The Reading Recovery program assumes reading is a natural process that can be guessed from pictures, but there are far better programs with proven effectiveness.
Literacy doesn’t just mean being able to recognise letters and words on a page.
We all want young children to be given the very best opportunities to become successful, engaged and passionate readers. The teaching of reading is constantly mired, however, in a tired old debate between…
English is a complex language with roots in many others, and the teaching of it should reflect this.
A new batch of Australian five-year-olds has just started school, eager to learn to read and write. Unfortunately for them, English has one of the most difficult spelling systems of any language, thanks…
Spell it out.
Alphabet soup via Brian Mueller/Shutterstock
Teaching children to read with phonics has been a central plank of recent “Govian” education policy. A new set of statistics shows that 74% of children in the first year of primary school now meet the…
Phonics is not the only way.
Pearls of Jannah
How can there be such high profile disagreement about an issue as extensively researched and important as the teaching of reading to young children? In July, a group of teachers and phonics consultants…
The writing’s on the wall – and they can’t read it.
Reading capability is vital for young people to be able to access and engage with the curriculum by the end of primary school and even more so at secondary school. But the data we have indicates that a…