We have watched the battle for evidence-informed reading instruction in Australia for a number of years - with more and more people of varying roles coming on board with the international research findings but at the same time as phonics detractors and proponents of some form of 'balanced literacy' continue to argue against the need for systematic synthetic phonics and the implementation of a national phonics check. I just wish we could speed up this battle and ensure provision of the the best literacy foundations for all the children.
Will we see the 'tipping point' in Australia any time soon?
Poor phonics instruction fuelling decline in children's reading skills: study
By EducationHQ News Team
Published February 21, 2020
Early primary students’ reading skills are declining, a new study claims.
https://educationhq.com/news/poor-phoni ... udy-73926/
The report was funded by the Australian Research Council and tracked the development of 118 students from schools in disadvantaged communities, as well as the quality of teaching and support they received.
The students completed standardised measures assessing their development, attitudes, relationships, behaviour, oral language competence, and progress in literacy and numeracy.
The researchers write that, "scaled scores from the 118 children in our sample show a significant decline in word-level reading scores over time relative to age norms.”
Some at-risk students that initially recorded ‘below average’ results fell to ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ over time. The study found that very few of these students ever had access to “evidence-based reading interventions”.
Instead, these students were more likely to receive behaviour plans, wobble chairs or supervision from teaching aides.
“We found that it was rare for teachers to consider behaviour as a possible indicator of underlying academic difficulties,” Graham said.
“Instead, teachers typically viewed it the other way around – that behaviour affects learning.
State education ministers recently agreed to back the Federal Government’s plan to embed the teaching of phonics and reading instruction into initial teacher education (ITE) and increase the amount of time allocated to literacy in ITE courses.
Professor Pamela Snow is a member of the IFERI's Advisory Group. She is an outstanding and prolific blogger and a contributor to the featured study.
“This finding suggests that explicit phonics-based instruction is potentially a neglected component of reading instruction,” lead researcher Professor Linda Graham said.
“This is a common criticism of the ‘balanced literacy’ approach; an approach that dominates early reading instruction in most Australian schools.”
Graham worked alongside Associate Professor Sonia White and Haley Tancredi from QUT, Professor Pamela Snow from La Trobe University and Dr Kathy Cologon from Macquarie University to produce the report.
The Snow Report