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FOR EDUCATORS

These articles and resources form a contemporary evidence base for the teaching and learning of reading and viewing; writing and representing; speaking and listening. 

Fact Check on Defining Effective Reading

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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

Teaching Decisions That Bring the Conditions of Learning to Life

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Debra Crouch and Dr Brian Cambourne

The authors have collaborated to discuss the eight Conditions of Learning that Brian has been describing for teachers for quite some time. They also discuss the importance of the Four Processes that Enable Learning in relation to the effectiveness of the conditions. Detailed explanations of the conditions and the processes are described as they would occur in classrooms in the teaching of reading and specific examples are provided to explain what would occur in Read-aloud, Shared Reading, Guided Reading and Independent Reading. Teachers will find this article extremely helpful as they think about their theory and practice about the teaching of reading. For more detailed information educators will be pleased to know that Brian and Debra have written a book,  Made for Learning - How the Conditions of Learning Guide Teaching Decisions, published by Richard Owen, 2020.

Keywords: Conditions of Learning  Reading 

Principles for Working with Struggling Readers and Writers - Advice for teachers across primary and secondary schools

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August 2020

This Foundation for Learning and Literacy published article is one of two partner articles on supporting struggling readers and writers and expands on Touchstone 6. The partner article is Meeting the needs of struggling readers and writers, particularly in the later primary years and secondary years.

This article outlines principles aimed to assist teachers in adjusting their literacy teaching for individual students who are experiencing some difficulty with reading and writing. They are based on what research tells us about struggling readers and writers.

Key words: Reading  Writing  Engagement  Support

Seven Rules of Engagement: What’s Most Important to Know about Motivation to Read

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Gambrell, Linda B. (2011) The Reading Teacher Vol.65 Issue 3 pp 172-178

International Reading Association

Linda Gambrell shares the findings from a major international study – that interest in reading predicted students’ reading comprehension and that students who enjoyed reading the most performed significantly better than students who enjoyed reading the least. Then Gambrell gives clear guidelines and practical tips about research-based classroom experiences that help all students to be intrinsically motivated to read. ‘Clearly, instruction that provides students with decoding and comprehension skills and strategies is not sufficient’ but Gambrell’s guidelines help teachers to fill the gap. It is refreshing to read about the importance of motivation and engagement in reading.

Key words: Reading  Comprehension  Engagement  Motivation  Sustained Reading  Classroom Libraries

Relevant Touchstones: 1,3,6,7,9,10

Key words:   Reading  Comprehension  Engagement  Motivation  Sustained reading  Classroom libraries


Fact Check on What Makes for Systematic Teaching of Phonics

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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

Evidence of Agency Among Student Writers

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Alan J Wright

In this short piece for his blog Living Life Twice, Alan J Wright; teacher, consultant and writer, writes about classroom environments where students love to write. He describes classrooms where a genuine sense of the writer's agency is apparent that is the natural consequence of a lot of mindful teaching on the part of teachers who display a commitment to building a classroom dynamic that values highly, student engagement.

Key words: Writing  Student agency  Writer's notebooks  Differentiation  Classroom environment

Phoney Phonics: How Decoding Came to Rule and Reading Lost Meaning

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by Nicola Yelland

Teachers College Press

August 19, 2020

The current debate around the teaching of reading in primary schools is a global phenomenon, even framed as being the “reading wars.” In the western world, education departments in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States have implemented phonics packages from the start of compulsory schooling (usually beginning at five years of age) and “screening” test regimes in the second year of school (in Australia, Year One). The stated aims of these tests imply that there is one element that is common across successful readers: being able to decode text using what is technically called the synthetic phonics approach. According to the information for parents provided with South Australia’s phonics screening test, “Phonics is vital in learning to read… The phonics screening check is a short, simple assessment that tells teachers how students are progressing in phonics.”
https://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=23414
Key words: Synthetic phonics  Analytic phonics  Phonics screening test  Whole language  Reading wars

The 'Synphonpreneurs', the Minister and the English Test

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Dr Paul Gardner

The Phonics Screening Check (PSC), which was recently made available to parents across Australia, has been imported from England, where it has been criticised by teachers, parents and literacy experts. Paul Gardner reveals some of the reasons why the PSC is not a good idea for Australia.

Key words: Synthetic phonics  Phonics screen  Phonics

Writing Needs to be Taught and Practised

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Claire Wyatt-Smith and Christine Jennifer Jackson

The Conversation October 19, 2020

A survey commissioned by the NSW Education Standards Authority completed by 4,306 NSW teachers, across all sectors, stages of schooling and curriculum areas is the basis for this report by Claire Wyatt-Smith and Christine Jennifer Jackson. The article outlines the findings from the survey and what the research says about the practices found in NSW classrooms. Wyatt-Smith and Jackson contend that teaching writing skills needs to be a baseline requirement for all students. The explicit teaching of these skills must be continuously revisited, building on student knowledge throughout their years of school.

Key words: literacy research, writing, effective strategies, early years writing, secondary writing, evidence for educators

P is for Pterodactyl

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Beryl Exley  ALEA Practically Primary June 2020

Intelligent reading teachers know that learning to read is a journey, from the place where the child first experiences language and starts to make sense of sounds and their written representations whilst being nurtured in the bosom of the family, to a place of reading a wide range of disciplinary texts fluently, with meaning and critical intent.

Key words: Phonics  Reading  Writing

What Really Matters When Working with Struggling Readers

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Richard Allington: Reading Teacher Vol. 66 Issue 7 pp 520-530 International Reading Association 2013

This article argues that we have a research base demonstrating that ‘virtually’ every child could be reading at grade level by the end of first grade. The author links his arguments to US schools but the compelling arguments on teaching reading based on evidence are applicable anywhere. The author raises issues such as not having expert teachers working with struggling readers, providing texts that are too difficult and the observation that struggling readers often spend more time doing worksheets than reading. The article calls the teachers to rethink current approaches with struggling readers for better outcomes.

Key words: Reading  Struggling readers  Independent reading  Support  Research  Text difficulty  Intervention

How justified is it to dominate government policy on early literacy with synthetic phonics and the phonics screening check? Part II: A critique of evidence

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Margaret M. Clark OBE Education Journal No.352 16.10.18

This article provides a critique of the evidence used to claim the effectiveness of the Phonics Screening Check implemented in the UK. Clark cites academics who make it clear that while there is a place for phonics in the teaching of reading, what they oppose is the UK Ministry’s claim that synthetic phonics should be mandated as the only method of teaching initial literacy. The article outlines that a narrow methodology for teaching reading supports a push for the direct-instruction entrepreneurs, who profit financially when federal and state governments mandate the use of curricular materials like the ones they produce. This article is of interest to educators, parents and policy makers.

Key words: Phonics  Early reading  Synthetic phonics

10 Things Every Literacy Educator Should Know About Research

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Nell K. Duke and Nicole M. Martin

The Reading Teacher Vol. 65 Issue 1 pp. 9–22 DOI:10.1598/RT.65.1.2 International Reading Association (now International Literacy Association) Free Access

“Research-based,” “research-proven,” “scientifically based”—in the reading world these days, it seems that the term research is being used everywhere. It is also being misused and misunderstood. The authors of this article Nell K. Duke and Nicole M. Martin,  wrote this article to argue for the value of research for literacy educators, including classroom teachers, coaches, specialists, and professors, and provide some information to help them make better use of research and, at the same time, guard against misuse as schools and teachers plan for and teach literacy. They discuss 10 things they believe every literacy educator should know about research.

Key words: literacy research, research-based, research-proven, research-tested, scientifically based, literacy improvement, reading, writing. evidence for educators

Meeting the Needs of Struggling Readers and Writers

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August 2020

This Foundation for Learning and Literacy published article is one of two partner articles on supporting struggling readers and writers and expands on Touchstone 6. The partner article is Principles for working with struggling readers and writers- advice for teachers across primary and secondary schools.

This article draws on research and practice in order to provide teachers and school leaders with research evidence and informed instructional and organisational practices to meet the needs of those students who are struggling as readers and writers.

Key words: Reading  Writing intervention  Engagement  Support  Strategies  Expectations

Fact Check on Clarifying a Balanced Literacy Approach

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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

How justified is it to dominate government policy on early literacy with synthetic phonics and the phonics screening check? Part II: A critique of evidence

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Margaret M. Clark OBE Education Journal No.352 16.10.18

This article provides a critique of the evidence used to claim the effectiveness of the Phonics Screening Check implemented in the UK. Clark cites academics who make it clear that while there is a place for phonics in the teaching of reading, what they oppose is the UK Ministry’s claim that synthetic phonics should be mandated as the only method of teaching initial literacy. The article outlines that a narrow methodology for teaching reading supports a push for the direct-instruction entrepreneurs, who profit financially when federal and state governments mandate the use of curricular materials like the ones they produce. This article is of interest to educators, parents and policy makers.

Key words: Phonics  Early reading  Synthetic phonics

Teaching Decisions that Bring the Conditions of Learning to Life

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Debra Crouch and Dr Brian Cambourne have collaborated to discuss the eight Conditions of Learning  that Brian has been describing for teachers for quite some time. They also discuss the importance of the Four Processes that Enable Learning in relation to the effectiveness of the conditions. Detailed explanations of the conditions and the processes are described as they would occur in classrooms in the teaching of reading and specific examples are provided to explain what would occur in Read-aloud, Shared Reading, Guided Reading and Independent Reading. Teachers will find this article extremely helpful as they think about their theory and practice about the teaching of reading. For more detailed information educators will be pleased to know that Brian and Debra have written a book,  Made for Learning - How the Conditions of Learning Guide Teaching Decisions, published by Richard Owen, 2020.

Keywords: Conditions of Learning  Reading 

Mindful Actions to Engage Inexperienced Writers

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Alan J Wright

Alan J. Wright is a very experienced teacher and literacy consultant with a passion for writing and the teaching of writing. He has worked in many classrooms in Australia and the USA, modelling exemplary ways to teach students to write and to develop their own passions for writing. In this document Alan shares some of his ideas about how to do this. Something that Alan values greatly about teaching students to write is that teachers should be writers too and he has devoted one of his books (Igniting Writing: When a Teacher Writes, published by Hawker Brownlow Education, 2011) to this topic and shares more ideas in his blog, Living Life Twice. Teachers might like to subscribe to Alan’s blog.

Key words:  Writing  Mentors  Writer's notebook

The Writing Identity of Teachers

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Alan J Wright

Alan J. Wright is a very experienced teacher and literacy consultant with a passion for writing and the teaching of writing. This short piece Alan argues, ‘Teachers’ writing identities tend to shape the delivery of their writing instruction. This in turn affects attitudes and values, ultimately passed to student writers.’ He strongly suggests teachers need to be writers as this changes the ways they teach writing. Teachers might like to subscribe to Alan’s blog - https://livinglifetwice-alwrite.blogspot.com

Key words: Teachers as writers  Teachers’ writing knowledge  Student engagement

Fact Check on Clarifying a Balanced Literacy Approach

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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

Applying New Visions of Reading Development in Today's Classrooms

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Dougherty Stahl, Katherine A. (2011) The Reading Teacher 65 (1) pp.52-56

This article explains the differences between the constrained and unconstrained skills (Paris, 2005) that are important in the reading process. It is suggested that these skills can be placed on a continuum. At one end of the continuum are tightly-constrained skills such as name-writing, letter knowledge and decoding. Phonological awareness and oral reading fluency are moderately constrained, while vocabulary and comprehension are least constrained. Teachers are encouraged not to allow the teaching of the constrained skills to dominate the teaching of reading because they can be more easily measured/tested. Sufficient time must also be allocated to teaching a child the more complex unconstrained abilities throughout the learning to read process.

Key words:   Constrained skills  Unconstrained skills  Reading  Phonological awareness  Phonics  Vocabulary  Comprehension Fluency

What are 'decodable readers' and how do they work?

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Misty Adoniou, Brian Cambourne and Robyn Ewing  The Conversation Nov 12 2018

Money for books must surely be a good thing. But what exactly is a “decodable reader”? After all, surely all books are decodable. If they weren’t decodable they would be unreadable.

Key words: Decodable readers  Decoding  Quality texts  Phonics  Teaching reading  Books

Decoding the Phonics Screening Check

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Darnell, C., Solity, J. & Wall, H. (2017)  British Educational Research Journal. 43.3: 24-25.

Darnell, Solity and Wall question the role and purpose of the phonic check for six year old children given its proposed introduction in Australia. The article reviews the first three years (2012-2014) of the phonic check introduced in England. The article highlights some of the problems with the check given its stated purpose. For example: the check fails to test some of the most common letter/sound matches in English; and children only need limited phonic knowledge to achieve a pass. The value of such a check is thus highly questionable.

Key words: Phonics  Grapheme–phoneme correspondences  Reading  Decoding  Phonics check

Beyond the Core: Advancing Student Success Through the Arts Education Commission of the States

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Workman, E.2017

This article briefly summarises a range of North American research that demonstrates how integrating the arts into other core subjects — including dance, music, drama/theatre, media arts and visual arts — can foster children’s deeper learning skills. Critical thinking skills, collaboration, creativity and perseverance are important predictors of long term success.

Key words: Arts-based instruction  Critical thinking  Deeper learning,

Spelling and Reading Development: The effect of teaching children multiple levels of representation in their orthography

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Devonshire, V; Morris, P; Fluck, M. University of Portsmouth, UK Learning and Instruction 25 (2013) 85-94

The authors explain that English has a deep or opaque orthography since only 56% of its words can be predicted by phonological rules. Highly transparent languages such as Finnish, Italian and Spanish have an almost one-to-one mapping between letters and sounds. The authors suggest that for transparent languages where there is a close mapping of letters and sounds an approach known as phonics would seem highly appropriate.However, for English it may be beneficial to teach young children multiple levels of representation explicitly. They tested this view by explicitly teaching morphology, etymology, phonology, and form rules to 120 English children 5-to7 years old. They compared the effectiveness of this instruction with a phonics-based condition and found the comprehensive intervention significantly improved the literacy skills of the children including both word reading and spelling compared with the phonics condition. They suggested that early teaching of English literacy should include instruction in morphology, etymology and rules about form in addition to traditional phonics.

Key words: Phonics  Spelling  Morphology  Phonology  Etymology

Effective Vocabulary Instruction

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Sedita, Joan Published in “Insights on Learning Disabilities” 2(1) 33-45, 2005

This article outlines the importance of effective vocabulary instruction across all year levels and learning areas. The high correlation in the research literature of word knowledge with reading comprehension indicates that if students do not adequately and steadily grow their vocabulary knowledge, reading comprehension will be affected. Sedita promotes developing word consciousness; having an interest and awareness of words. Word conscious students enjoy learning new words and engaging in word play. The article states that all students benefit from hearing language that incorporates the vocabulary and syntax (sentence structures) in high-quality written English.

Key words:   Vocabulary instruction  Word consciousness  Reading comprehension  Research  Word structure

Morphology Works

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Kirby, J. R; Bowers, P.N; Queen's University in What Works? Research into Practice Research Monograph # 41

In this short clear article, the authors explain morphology – how words are composed as meaningful parts – in particular affixes such as prefixes and vowel and consonant suffixes. They say that sensitivity to morphological structure and the ability to manipulate that structure (that is “morphological awareness”):

•predicts reading development

•contributes to word meaning and to reading comprehension

•increases vocabulary and reading achievement.

They suggest that teachers can help children by engaging in “morphological instruction” and they provide useful examples of what teachers may do. If you may want to read further, try: The Effects of Morphological Instruction on Literacy Skills: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Peter N. Bowers, John R. Kirby and S. Hélène Deacon. Review of Educational Research Vol. 80, No. 2 (June 2010), pp. 144-179

Key words: Morphology  Word structure  Reading comprehension  Vocabulary

Essential Instructional Practices in Literacy - Years K-3

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A research team led by Professor Nell Duke at Michigan University USA has informed the development of a set of resources about what is essential for effective literacy classroom practice every day in every classroom.
Key words: Literacy  Research  Reading  Writing  Read aloud  Family engagement  Motivation  Vocabulary  Phonological awareness  Letter sound relationships  Assessment

Essential Instructional Practices in Literacy - Years K-3 - Leadership Tips

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A research team led by Professor Nell Duke at Michigan University USA has informed the development of a set of resources about what is essential for effective literacy classroom practice every day in every classroom, see Essential Instructional Practices in Literacy - Years K-3. This resource created by Christine Topfer, has leadership tips to support leaders when implementing the Essential Instructional Practices in literacy in their school.

Key words: Leadership  Literacy  Literacy improvement  Research


Essential Instructional Practices in Literacy - Years K-3 - Remote Learning

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A research team led by Professor Nell Duke at Michigan University USA has informed the development of a set of resources about what is essential for effective literacy classroom practice every day in every classroom, see Essential Instructional Practices in Literacy - Years K-3.
This resource, created by Christine Topfer, has suggestions for how to implement the Essential Instructional Practices in Literacy when working in a remote learning context. This resource will support both teachers and leaders.
Key words: Remote learning  Literacy  Research

GERM or Global Education Reform Movement, is increasingly influencing Australia

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Paul Gardner  Curtin University, Perth, WA

Literacy Today Issue 91 December 2019

GERM, or the Global Education Reform Movement. The movement here is evident in the Federal Government’s push for synthetic phonics and the UK phonics test, and in the appointment of two non-educators to a three-person “expert” panel established to inform AITSL (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership) on accreditation of teachers in relation to the teaching of reading.Some members of the panel have pecuniary interests in commercial synthetic phonics programs.

Key words: Synthetic phonics  Phonics screen  Phonics

Exploding Some of the myths about learning to read: A review of research on the role of phonics

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Robyn Ewing 2018

This review of research explores the role of teaching phonics in learning to read. It considers some of the most powerful and well established predictors for success in learning to read including the development of oral language with parents and caregivers; shared reading and access to a range of reading in the home and preschool. It then focuses on developing an understanding of the background to and rationale for the current focus on synthetic phonics in early reading in England, and more recently the suggestion that Australia might introduce a synthetic phonics check for all six-year-olds. Contemporary research about phonics — synthetic and analytic — and the role it plays in learning to read is then considered alongside other strategies.

https://aeunt.org.au/news/how-children-learn-to-read-reviewing-the-evidence/

Key words: Reading  Phonics  Synthetic phonics  Oral language  Research  Systematic phonics  Struggling readers  Individual needs


Children's Right to Read

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The International Reading Association has published this useful and important list for teachers and parents to keep in mind.

Explicit and Systematic Teaching of Reading - A New Slogan

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Brian Cambourne The Reading Teacher; Oct 1999; 532; eLibrary pg.126

This is an interesting article given the date of publication and what it says about explicit and systematic learning. These words are widely used so a reminder of the use of these terms in the mid-80s and 90s will be of interest to many educators as they reflect on the use of those terms today. The author discusses the inclusion of two other dimensions; mindfulness —>mindlessness, contextualised—> decontextualised. The article will raise some thoughts for educators about programs claiming to be"explicit and systematic" and whether they are in fact mindless and decontextualised.  

Key words: Explicit  Systematic  Reading

Reading Like a Writer

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Frank Smith, Language Arts, 1983 Vol 5, No 5 pp558-567

In this seminal article Frank Smith questions ‘the myth that one could learn to write to diligent attention and practice’ (p.558). Smith asks: ‘Where do people who write acquire all the knowledge they need?’ The conclusion Smith reaches is that it can only be through reading that writers learn all the ‘tangibles that they know’. He claims that ‘to learn to write, children must read in a special kind of way’ (p558). Smith clearly and logically shares his reasoning, discussing the complexities of writing, learning as a collaborative activity and how readers collaborate with the author whose writing they are reading. Finally, he outlines what this means for teaching writing.

Key words: Reading  Writing  Reading writing connection

An Evidenced - based Critique of Synthetic Phonics in Literacy Learning

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Clark, M.

In this short paper, Clark summarises key points from her own research, and the work of many other researchers over several decades.  Most researchers support the belief that there is a benefit from the inclusion of phonics with the early instruction in learning to read in English, within a broad program. There is NOT evidence to support phonics in isolation as the one best method. There is NOT evidence for synthetic phonics as the required approach over other approaches. Clark also summarises major concerns about the so-called phonics screening ‘check’. She worries that evidence from research is being ignored, simplistic tests are driving the curriculum, and available resources for schools are being spent on commercial products linked to the tests.

Key words:  Synthetic  Phonics  Phonics screening

The Place of Phonics in Learning to Read and Write

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Emmitt, M; Hornsby, D. and Wilson, L. Published by ALEA in 2006 Revised in 2013

This brief (22-page) article makes a strong case that children best learn to read when teachers help them engage with meaningful and engaging texts rather than with commercial programs. The writers point to the value of children learning about letter/sound relationships through writing; they suggest what teachers can do; they consider the research evidence to support their views. They cite evidence that shows that students with difficulties are more likely to overcome difficulties if they have meaning-centred assistance from teachers who understand language learning.

Key words: Reading  Writing  Meaning  Phonics

Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Well-being

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The Short Report 2017

The paper's authors are calling for an informed and open-minded willingness to accept that the arts can make a significant contribution to addressing a number of pressing issues faced by our health and social care systems.

Key words: Arts  Health and well being   Engagement  Families

What is the Evidence on the Role of the Arts in Improving Heath and Well-being?

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A scoping review by Daisy Fancourt and Saoirse Finn 2019

Over the past two decades, there has been a major increase in research into the effects of the arts on health and well-being, alongside developments in practice and policy activities in different countries across the WHO European Region and further afield. Read the synthesis of global evidence.

Key words: Arts  Medicine in the arts  Culture  Arts in health

The Rights of the Writer Poster

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Jo Padgham  Principal, Turner School 2017

This article makes suggestions for parents to support their child’s writing development. It is divided into sections making it easily accessible for parents to identify an area they can try at home.

Key words: Writing  Early Childhood  Primary

The Australian Curriculum English and the Proposed Year 1 Phonics Test

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David Hornsby  2017

This two-page paper informs teachers, principals and parents about some of the issues regarding the Year 1 phonics check. The author’s many years of classroom experience, and his publications, demonstrate that he is “pro-phonics”.  However, he outlines several reasons why the proposed Year 1 phonics check is neither valid nor reliable.

Key words: Morphemic  Phonics  Meaning  Orthography

Essential Elements of Fostering and Teaching Reading Comprehension

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Duke, N. D., Pearson, P. D., Strachan, S. L., Billman, A. K. (2011). In S. J. Samuels & A. Farstrup (Eds.). What research has to say about reading instruction, 4th Edition (pp. 51-93). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

This is a comprehensive account of 10 major instructional practices that teachers of primary and secondary students might adopt to develop reading for understanding. Australian primary and high-school teachers are likely to be familiar with ideas such as building disciplinary and world knowledge, providing exposure to a volume and range of texts, providing motivating texts and contexts for reading, engaging students in discussion, building  vocabulary and language knowledge, integrating reading and writing, observing and assessing, and differentiating instruction. They are likely to find the table, “What Good Readers Do When They Read”, useful and most useful the details in the section “Teaching Strategies for Comprehending”.

Key words: Reading  Meaning  Comprehension

Writing as A Process

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R.D. Walshe 1981

This article was originally Chapter 2 in his book Every Child Can Write (1981, PETAA). In 1999 Bob edited original 40 pages into a stand-alone article. It is a clear succinct exploration of ‘writing as a process’: a concept that many today take for granted without fully understanding what it means for the learner of writing and its teaching. It is a must read for all teachers of writing.

Key words: Writing  Writing process  Conferring  Response  Evaluation

A New Phonics Test is Pointless - we shouldn't waste precious money buying it from England

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Misty Adoniou

The Conversation; September 2017. 

This article was as the Australian Coalition Government was canvassing the introduction of a phonics screening assessment for all year 1 children in Australia. Adoniou tests the claims that the then Minister for Education Birmingham states the phonics screen will address and finds them lacking evidence and the test is unable to deliver what was hoped. Adoniou concludes that Australia should look elsewhere for answers to its literacy challenges.  The article will be of interest to educators, parents and policymakers.

Key words: Phonics  Phonics screening

Conversation About the Reading Wars

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NEPC Newsletter, 29 November 2018

Q&A with Elizabeth Moje, Dean of the University of Michigan School of Education in the National Education Policy Center 

 The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions.  This conversation between a member of the NEPC and Elizabeth Moje provides expert insights into some of the key issues regularly debated regarding effective literacy instruction. The conversation is set out with a Q&A style and provides the clarity,  perspective and research that educators, policy makers and parents need to understand some of the polarising debate that arises from time to time and restores confidence in the important and complex work of teachers in supporting young readers and writers.

Key words:   Reading  Reading wars  Balanced literacy  Literacy instruction  Phonics  Research

More Than Words Can Say 

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2019 edition Edited by Julie Dyson, National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE) naae.org.au

A view of literacy through the arts. 

Key words: The Arts  Literacy  Multimedia

Building a Knowledge Base in Reading

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Jane Braunger and Jan Patricia Lewis,  pages 124-128, 1997. 

This extract is from a book that provides a research baseline for teachers, policy makers and anyone interested in helping all children learn to read. Although it was published in 1997,  and there has been a great deal more research in this field since that time, the content is still extraordinarily helpful in guiding the best practices in the teaching of reading and what influences children's success as readers. This part of the book distills the knowledge base about beginning reading into 13 core understandings and one of those is that ‘students need many opportunities to read, read, read’.  It provides extensive details of the research supporting that particular core understanding.  In recent times the main discussion about the teaching of reading tends to focus on approaches used to teach reading, but the importance of students having time to read, plus all of the practical issues relating to that, receives little attention. This extract is extremely important to read in that context.

Key words:   Beginning reading  Core understandings  Reading  Choice  Texts  Assessment

Beginning to Read and the Spin Doctors of Science:  An Excerpt 

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Denny Taylor  

from Beginning to Read and the Spin Doctors of Science

Theorising and research are informed by assumptions about what knowledge is and who gets to say what counts as knowledge.  In this excerpt, Taylor critically unpacks the recent debates over phonemic awareness and reading.  She meticulously unpacks the spin embedded in the "research" which extreme phonics advocates use to promote their views.  She reveals the bias and pseudo science inherent in their claims.
Key words: Research  Phonemic awareness  Phonemic awareness research  Beginning reading

Reading Between the Lines:  the benefits of reading for pleasure

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A Study of Benefits to Adults of Regular Reading for Pleasure

A report from Quick Reads, in partnership with Dr Josie Billington, Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society at the University of Liverpool

This report is a valuable evidence-based document which shares some definitive benefits of developing a culture of reading for pleasure, especially when these benefits are understood by teachers, educational leaders and parents. The conclusions and recommendations include information that reading for just 30 minutes a week:

- Produces greater life satisfaction;

- Enhances social connectedness and sense of community spirit;

- Helps protect against and even prepare for life difficulties.

Key words: Reading  Reading habits  Reading for pleasure


Teachers' Knowledge of Children's Literature:  the Cornerstone of Reading for Pleasure 

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Teresa Cremin, 2019.   Scottish Book Trust

Those who choose to read for pleasure are often high achievers in both literacy and numeracy.  In this article, Cremin discusses how important it is for teachers to develop a rich and wide knowledge of children's literature.  At the same time, they must be able to model their enjoyment of reading so they can nurture reading for pleasure in the classroom. 

Key words: Reading  Reading for pleasure  Children’s literature

Making a Difference in Learning Through Arts and Pedagogy

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Ewing, R. 2018 Australian Council for Educational Research Conference

This brief article highlights the role drama can play in enhancing learners’ social and emotional well-being as well as English and literacy outcomes. Making art through drama and literature enables students to move into transformative spaces in which they can play with possibilities that take them beyond their own perspectives to encourage openness and mindfulness towards the others who share their worlds. Creative arts-rich pedagogies enable students to develop communicative, collaborative and critical literacies (NEA, 2013) that go beyond surface and literal interpretations of literature.

Key words: Arts-rich pedagogy  School drama  Literacy

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