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Few people would disagree with the idea that decisions about teaching should be informed by scholarship, research evidence and knowledge and understandings gained from professional practice. Often, however, as Rachel Gabriel (2020) points out, research findings are reported from a single perspective that can be misleading and cause confusion. The Foundation for Learning and Literacy will respond to such misrepresentations with Foundation Fact Checks.

A Note About Fact Checks

October 2020

  The Foundation Committee has developed the following set of principles to help you evaluate information about learning and literacy.

Teaching writing in Australian classrooms

August 2021

This Foundation for Learning and Literacy Fact Check is responding to recent misinformation being spread about the teaching of writing in both primary and secondary classrooms in Australia. These misinformed accusations paint an unfair, often deficit picture of teacher education programs claiming that preservice teachers are not taught how to teach writing explicitly. Furthermore, teachers are said to not have the necessary skills to teach writing in our classrooms.  This Fact Check addresses these issues and briefly examines some facts about teaching writing in Australian classrooms.
Key words: Fact Check  Writing  Teacher education  Explicit teaching  Writing workshop  Writing principles of an effective writing classroom
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Teaching phonics 'first' is not new

May 2021

We need to focus on meeting the needs of individual children in helping them learn to read rather than teaching ‘a method of reading’ (Reid, 2006, p.16). No one method can be the ‘right’ method for all children – quality teachers will draw on a diverse range of strategies and approaches to teach to the diverse needs of the children in their classrooms.

Key words: Reading   Phonics

Fact Check on Defining Effective Reading

September 2020

Continued and often heated debates about how teachers and parents can best help young children learn to read are closely related to different definitions of, and understandings about, what effective reading is. This Fact Check discusses two approaches to defining effective reading and argues that it is imperative to adopt a definition of reading that privileges meaning-making. It acknowledges that reading is a highly complex and multi-dimensional meaning-making process that must be underpinned by a repertoire of diverse practices and strategies that respond to the needs of individual learners.

Key words: Reading  Phonics  Intervention  Engagement

Fact Check on What Makes for Systematic Teaching of Phonics

Fact check statements are only available on the Foundation for Learning and Literacy website.

Some recent public commentary around learning to read and write is misleading and false. One such claim is that that all students should receive the same synthetic phonics program in the same sequence and in the same way and for the same amount of time. This is not supported by research.

Key words: Fact check  Phonics  Explicit instruction  Systemic phonics instruction  Synthetic phonics

Fact Check on Clarifying a Balanced Literacy Approach

Fact check statements are only available on the Foundation for Learning and Literacy website. Recently in press articles, some commentators have provided a misleading view of what many systems, schools and educators know as a ‘balanced literacy approach’ claiming it does not attend adequately to phonics instruction. It is important that the expertise of those teachers and school leaders who are effectively using a balanced literacy approach is not undermined.

Key words: Fact check  Balanced literacy  Reading  Explicit instruction  Phonics

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