1300 756 206

Welcome to our new website!

Does Spelling Still Matter—and If So, How Should It Be Taught? Perspectives from Contemporary and Historical Research

A century ago, spelling skills were highly valued and widely taught in schools using traditional methods, such as weekly...
A century ago, spelling skills were highly valued and widely taught in schools using traditional methods, such as weekly lists, drill exercises, and low- and high-stakes spelling tests. That approach was featured in best-selling textbooks such as the Horn-Ashbaugh Speller of...
A century ago, spelling skills were highly valued and widely taught in schools using traditional methods, such as weekly lists, drill exercises, and low- and high-stakes spelling tests. That approach was featured in best-selling textbooks such as the Horn-Ashbaugh Speller of 1920. In the early 21st century, however, skepticism as to the importance of spelling has grown, some schools have deemphasized or abandoned spelling instruction altogether, and there has been a proliferation of non-traditional approaches to teaching spelling. These trends invite a reevaluation of the role of spelling in modern English-speaking societies and whether the subject should be explicitly taught (and if so, what are research-supported methods for doing so). In this article, we examine the literature to address whether spelling skills are still important enough to be taught, summarize relevant evidence, and argue that a comparison of common approaches to spelling instruction in the early 20th century versus more recent approaches provides some valuable insights. We also discuss the value of explicit spelling instruction and highlight potentially effective ways to implement such instruction, including the use of spelling tests. Overall, our goals are to better characterize the role of spelling skills in today’s society and to identify several pedagogical approaches—some derived from traditional methods and others that are more recent—that hold promise for developing such skills in efficient and effective ways.
Read More Read More

The Dramatic Impact of Explicit Instruction on Learning to Read in a New Writing System

There is profound and long-standing debate over the role of explicit instruction in reading acquisition. In this research, we investigated...
There is profound and long-standing debate over the role of explicit instruction in reading acquisition. In this research, we investigated the impact of teaching regularities in the writing system explicitly rather than relying on learners to discover these regularities through text...
There is profound and long-standing debate over the role of explicit instruction in reading acquisition. In this research, we investigated the impact of teaching regularities in the writing system explicitly rather than relying on learners to discover these regularities through text experience alone. Over 10 days, 48 adults learned to read novel words printed in two artificial writing systems. One group learned spelling-to-sound and spelling-to-meaning regularities solely through experience with the novel words, whereas the other group received a brief session of explicit instruction on these regularities before training commenced. Results showed that virtually all participants who received instruction performed at ceiling on tests that probed generalization of underlying regularities. In contrast, despite up to 18 hr of training on the novel words, less than 25% of discovery learners performed on par with those who received instruction. These findings illustrate the dramatic impact of teaching method on outcomes during reading acquisition.
Read More Read More

Supporting struggling adolescent readers through the Response to Intervention (RTI) framework.

The purpose of this article is to describe what needs to happen in Australian schools to provide effective literacy...
The purpose of this article is to describe what needs to happen in Australian schools to provide effective literacy support for adolescent students with reading difficulties. The central thesis of this paper is that the Response to Intervention (RtI)...
The purpose of this article is to describe what needs to happen in Australian schools to provide effective literacy support for adolescent students with reading difficulties. The central thesis of this paper is that the Response to Intervention (RtI) model provides a useful framework for organizing multi-tiered evidence-based reading interventions for struggling adolescent readers. Necessary adaptations of the model for the secondary context are discussed and the benefits and pitfalls of flexible and fixed groupings are outlined. Australian schools cannot afford to adopt a “business-as-usual” approach. Reasonable adjustments within classrooms are not enough to equip students with the literacy they need. Rather, schools should look to how they can use the RtI model to provide varying levels of evidence-based reading intervention, drawing on the expertise of speech pathologists.
Read More Read More

The mission to improve reading instruction – How can we achieve success?

Jennifer Buckingham, recipient of the 2019 LDA Mona Tobias Award, reflects on the difficulties of bringing about the changes required to...
Jennifer Buckingham, recipient of the 2019 LDA Mona Tobias Award, reflects on the difficulties of bringing about the changes required to implement effective reading instruction for all children, based on the scientific evidence of what works.
Jennifer Buckingham, recipient of the 2019 LDA Mona Tobias Award, reflects on the difficulties of bringing about the changes required to implement effective reading instruction for all children, based on the scientific evidence of what works.
Read More Read More

Short-Changed: Preparation to teach reading in initial teacher education.

Initial teacher education students, and the children they eventually go on to teach, are being short-changed. This report adds...
Initial teacher education students, and the children they eventually go on to teach, are being short-changed. This report adds to the evidence supporting the need for urgent and dramatic improvement in initial teacher education by looking at the extent...
Initial teacher education students, and the children they eventually go on to teach, are being short-changed. This report adds to the evidence supporting the need for urgent and dramatic improvement in initial teacher education by looking at the extent to which literacy units in undergraduate initial teacher education courses provide evidence-based information on how children learn to read; and the most effective ways to teach them.
Read More Read More

Lost in translation? Challenges in connecting reading science and educational practice

an the science of reading contribute to improving educational practices, allowing more students to become skilled readers? Much has...
an the science of reading contribute to improving educational practices, allowing more students to become skilled readers? Much has been learned about the behavioral and brain bases of reading, how students learn to read, and factors that contribute to...
an the science of reading contribute to improving educational practices, allowing more students to become skilled readers? Much has been learned about the behavioral and brain bases of reading, how students learn to read, and factors that contribute to low literacy. The potential to use research findings to improve literacy outcomes is substantial but remains largely unrealized. The lack of improvement in literacy levels, especially among students who face other challenges such as poverty, has led to new pressure to incorporate the science of reading in curricula, instructional practices, and teacher education. In the interest of promoting these efforts, the authors discuss three issues that could undermine them: the need for additional translational research linking reading science to classroom activities, the oversimplified way that the science is sometimes represented in the educational context, and the fact that theories of reading have become more complex and less intuitive as the field has progressed. Addressing these concerns may allow reading science to be used more effectively and achieve greater acceptance among educators.
Read More Read More

The National Reading Panel Report (USA)

In 1997, Congress asked for a national panel to assess the effectiveness of different approaches used to teach children...
In 1997, Congress asked for a national panel to assess the effectiveness of different approaches used to teach children to read. For over two years, the NRP reviewed research-based knowledge on reading instruction. The panel determined that effective reading...
In 1997, Congress asked for a national panel to assess the effectiveness of different approaches used to teach children to read. For over two years, the NRP reviewed research-based knowledge on reading instruction. The panel determined that effective reading instruction includes teaching children to break apart and manipulate the sounds in words (phonemic awareness), teaching them that these sounds are represented by letters that can be blended together to form words (phonics), having them practice what they’ve learned by reading aloud with guidance and feedback (guided oral reading) and teaching them to apply strategies to guide and improve reading comprehension.
Read More Read More

Independent Review of the Teaching of Early Reading (UK) – The Rose Report

In 2006 Sir Jim Rose completed his independent review of the teaching of early reading. The review report provided...
In 2006 Sir Jim Rose completed his independent review of the teaching of early reading. The review report provided clear recommendations on what constitutes 'high quality phonics work'. These recommendations were also summarised in the Core Position Paper 'Phonics...
In 2006 Sir Jim Rose completed his independent review of the teaching of early reading. The review report provided clear recommendations on what constitutes 'high quality phonics work'. These recommendations were also summarised in the Core Position Paper 'Phonics and early reading: an overview for head teachers, literacy leaders and teachers in schools, and managers and practitioners in Early Years settings'. All principles underpinning these recommendations have been incorporated into the revised Primary Framework for literacy and the new Early Years Foundation Stage. UK Independent Review of the Teaching of Early Reading, 2006 (“the Rose Report”)
Read More Read More

National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy (Australia) – The Rowe Report

Published:  December, 2005 On 30 November 2004 the then Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Dr Brendan Nelson...
Published:  December, 2005 On 30 November 2004 the then Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Dr Brendan Nelson MP, announced details about the Australian Government National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy. The Inquiry was a broad, independent...
Published:  December, 2005 On 30 November 2004 the then Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Dr Brendan Nelson MP, announced details about the Australian Government National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy. The Inquiry was a broad, independent examination of reading research, teacher preparation and practices for the teaching of literacy, particularly reading.
Read More Read More

Teaching reading is rocket science. What expert teachers of reading should know and be able to do

This report is an update to the original Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science published over 20 years ago. It...
This report is an update to the original Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science published over 20 years ago. It is acknowledged that, although some progress has been made in teaching reading effectively, too few at-risk, disadvantaged, and minority students...
This report is an update to the original Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science published over 20 years ago. It is acknowledged that, although some progress has been made in teaching reading effectively, too few at-risk, disadvantaged, and minority students become proficient readers. The report outlines the knowledge that undergirds successful reading instruction and concludes with recommendations for the professional preparation of all teachers of reading.
Read More Read More