The government’s focus on synthetic phonics is too narrow.
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.
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 instruction gives children letter-sound knowledge, a skill that is essential for them to read unfamiliar words by themselves.
A focus on phonics may be the cure to Australia’s literacy woes.
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.